New Delhi: The government has taken serious note of the fake video of actress Rashmika Mandanna, which was created using artificial intelligence (AI) and went viral on social media. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all social media platforms, explaining the legal provisions and penalties for creating and spreading such deepfake videos, which can impersonate and defame anyone.
The advisory cited Section 66D of the IT Act, 2000, which deals with ‘punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource’. This section states that whoever cheats by using any communication device or computer resource shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
The advisory came after a deepfake video of Rashmika Mandanna, who has worked in Telugu and Kannada films and is set to make her Bollywood debut with Ranbir Kapoor in Animal, sparked outrage and concern among fans, celebrities and social media users. The video, shared widely, showed a woman resembling Mandanna entering an elevator. However, it was later revealed that the video was a deepfake, which had superimposed Mandanna’s face onto an Instagram video posted by a British-Indian woman named Zara Patel.
In a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Mandanna said that the incident was scary and that technology was being misused. She said that she was grateful for the support of her family and friends and called for the issue to be addressed urgently before more people are affected by such identity theft. She also thanked her co-star in the film Goodbye, Amitabh Bachchan, who had shared a post by a fact-checker who had exposed the fake video and had demanded legal action in the matter.
The woman in the original video, Patel, also expressed her distress and anger over the fake video and said that she was worried about the future of women and girls who had to fear more about putting themselves on social media.
IT Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar said that deepfakes were the latest and even more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation and needed to be dealt with by the platforms. He said that under the IT rules, the platforms had to ensure that any user posted no misinformation and that they could be taken to court under Indian law if they failed to do so.