On Deepfakes, IT Minister’s 7-Day Deadline For Social Media Platforms

New Delhi:

Amid consternation and outrage over a series of deepfake videos on social media, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar today said that the Centre will soon appoint an officer to take appropriate action over such content.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) will develop a website on which users can register their concerns about IT rule violation by social media platforms. “Meity will assist users to notify it about violation of IT rules and assist them in filing a First Information Report or FIR,” the Union Minister said.

The FIR will be registered against the intermediary and if they disclose the details from where the content has originated then the case will be filed against the entity that has posted the content, the minister said.

He said that social media platforms have been given seven days time to align their terms of use as per the IT rules. “From today onwards, there is zero tolerance for violation of IT rules,” Mr Chandrasekhar said.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also flagged the misuse of AI or artificial intelligence for creating deepfake videos and called it a “big concern.”

“During the times of Artificial Intelligence, it is important that technology should be used responsibly,” he cautioned.

The Centre has said that the creation and circulation of deepfakes carry a strong penalty Rs 1 lakh in fine and three years in jail.

The videos have sparked massive worry about fake videos targeting public figures and the power of AI to create deepfakes that can mislead the world.

The revelation sparked concerns over the ramifications of such tinkering, especially for public figures, who may get in trouble over visuals their faces are doctored into.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology earlier this month issued an advisory to social media platforms underlining the legal provisions that cover such deepfakes and the penalties their creation and circulation may attract.

Mr Chandrasekhar had said that it is a “legal obligation” for online platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation. “Remove any such content when reported within 36 hours of such reporting and ensure expeditious action, well within the timeframes stipulated under the IT Rules 2021, and disable access to the content or information,” the statement said.

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