In an advisory sent to intermediaries, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) reminded them of their legal responsibilities under the IT Act on Tuesday, November 7.
This was regarding the distribution of deepfakes on their platforms. The law mandates that intermediaries remove any content that is offensive, unacceptable, or has changed.
The advise also emphasised the punishment, which is three years in prison for violators under Section 66D of the IT Act.
The warning was issued the day after actor Rashmika Mandanna's deepfake became went viral on social media. A similar caution was sent to the platforms by the ministry in February of this year.
It has referenced Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, through which punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resources carries imprisonment goes up to three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
It is also believed that Rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology Rules was referenced in the advisory. According to this rule, social media companies must remove content that impersonates someone, including photos that have been altered, within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.
Mandanna responded to the deepfake that went popular on X, saying that it "really hurt" her and that videos like this are frightening not just for her personally but also for "everyone of us who is vulnerable to so much harm because of how technology is being misused today."
Ms. Mandanna's face was digitally altered and superimposed onto a video shared on Instagram by a British-Indian woman named Zara Patel.