On Tuesday, the government issued an advisory to prominent social media platforms, instructing them to promptly remove any reported deepfake content within 36 hours. Failure to comply with this directive will result in the loss of their 'safe harbor immunity' and make them subject to criminal and judicial actions as per Indian laws.
This development follows a recent series of incidents involving manipulated or altered photographs, that are often categorised as deepfakes.
"The Centre today issued an advisory to the significant social media intermediaries to ensure that due diligence is exercised and reasonable efforts are made to identify misinformation and deepfakes, and in particular, information that violates the provisions of rules and regulations and/or user agreements and such cases are expeditiously actioned against, well within the timeframes stipulated under the IT Rules 2021," the ministry of electronics and IT said in a statement.
"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 further said.
Intermediaries were cautioned that their failure to adhere to the IT Act and Rules could lead to the application of Rule 7 of the IT Rules, 2021. Such non-compliance might result in the organization losing the protection granted under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which protects intermediaries and social media platforms against liability for third-party information, data, or communication links hosted or made available by them.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar emphasized that individuals affected by deepfakes should take immediate action. He urged them to promptly file First Information Reports (FIRs) at the nearest police station and make use of the remedies available under the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021.
On Monday, a video circulated on X (formerly Twitter), featuring actor Rashmika Mandanna's face deepfaked into another individual's video. Actor Amitabh Bachchan and others called for legal action. The actress urged immediate action to prevent identity theft.