• Friday, March 01, 2024


India warns social media giants against deepfakes menace

Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw revealed that the country is drawing up rules for governing deepfakes

Indian minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar speaks on Day 1 of the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park on November 1, 2023 in Bletchley, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

INDIA’s government on Friday (24) warned social media firms including Facebook and YouTube to repeatedly remind users that local laws prohibit them from posting deepfakes and content that spreads obscenity or misinformation, two sources said.

The warning was conveyed by deputy IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar in a closed-door meeting where he said many companies had not updated their usage terms despite 2022 rules that prohibit content “harmful” to children, obscene or that “impersonates another person”.

It comes amid growing concerns over deepfakes – realistic yet fabricated videos created by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms trained on online footage – which a top minister this week said this week India is drawing up rules to address.

Chandrasekhar said the companies must raise awareness of the rules by reminding users every time they log in that they cannot post such content, or by issuing reminders.

He said otherwise he will issue directions forcing them to do so, said the two sources, who declined to be named as the meeting was private.

The minister described it as a “non-negotiable” demand of the Indian government during the meeting, said one of the sources.

India’s IT ministry said in a press statement all platforms had agreed to align their content guidelines with government rules.

Facebook and Chandrasekhar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns YouTube, said in a statement it was committed to responsible AI development and has robust policies and systems to identify and remove harmful content across its products and platforms.

The Indian government and prime minister Narendra Modi have raised concerns over deepfakes in recent days.

During a virtual summit of G20 nations on Wednesday (22), Modi called on global leaders to jointly work towards regulating AI, and raised concerns over the negative impact of deepfakes on society.

Also, Indian minister Ashwini Vaishnaw revealed that the country is drawing up rules for governing deepfakes.

“We plan to complete drafting the regulations within the next few weeks,” Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters after a meeting with academics, industry groups and social media companies.

The process of drafting regulations would also look at penalties on both the person uploading the content and the social media platform on which it was posted, Vaishnaw added.

The move comes as countries across the world race to draw up rules to regulate AI.

President Joe Biden last month signed an executive order requiring developers of AI systems that pose risks to US national security, the economy or public health or safety to share the results of safety tests with the US government before they are released to the public.

The UN too has created a 39-member advisory body to address issues in the governance of AI, while European lawmakers have prepared a draft set of rules which could be approved by next month.


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