Remedies and Deepfakes – Prevention, Protection and Redressal

April 26, 2024
Deepfakes – Prevention

By Vikrant Rana, Anuradha Gandhi and Rachita Thakur


Amidst the widespread deepfakes of public personalities, the famous Bollywood actor, Amir Khan is the new victim of a deepfake video. A purported 27-second clip, which, shows the actor talking about staying away from the rhetoric or jumla targeting a political party has been released on online.  This clip was created using Artificial Intelligence by inserting the actor into a scene from his own show ‘Satyamev Jayate’.

The actor’s team has filed the FIR with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Mumbai Police at the Khar Police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 419 (impersonation), 420 (cheating) and sections 66C and 66D of the Information Technology Act, which cover identity theft and cheating by impersonation using computer resource, respectively.

The official spokesperson of the actor also issued a statement denying endorsing any political party and clarified that the video is a deepfake and the matter has been reported to the authorities which include, registering an FIR with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Mumbai Police. [1]

Deepfake video of Actor Ranveer Singh

After Aamir Khan, Ranveer Singh became the latest target in the deepfake quagmire. “Deepfake se bacho doston,” the actor wrote on his Instagram story refuting the contents of the deepfake video which is spread rapidly. In the morphed clip, he was seen criticizing the government and asking people to vote for Nayay (justice) in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections.[2]

The footage used to create the deepfake video was from Ranveer Singh’s recent visit to Varanasi for a fashion show organized by the famous fashion designer Manish Malhotra. The videos have been shared widely on social media and D-Intent Data shared the two videos in a post on the social media platform X.[3] The actor’s spokesperson further confirmed that a police complaint and an FIR has been lodged against the handle that was promoting the AI-generated deepfake video[4].

Apart from Facebook, X and other fact checking websites including Reuters digital verification unit also confirmed that the videos of both the actors were manipulated or altered. Further, both the videos have been viewed on social media more than half a million times since their release.[5]6

Why are deepfake videos so widespread?

The recent widespread of deepfake videos and imagery has raised concerns of authorities since they are generally designed to encompass the truthfulness of the original content and manipulate the audiences. Deepfakes have the potential to create havoc in the digital ecosystem by the spread of misinformation amongst people. The key reasons why deepfakes are so widespread and pose a threat to the digital ecology are as follows:

  1. Deepfakes, also known as AI generated images and videos, are created with such precision it is nearly impossible to differentiate between the fake video from the original with naked eyes.
  2. Most of the techniques and tools used to create deepfakes imagery and videos are comparatively less expensive and require less skills than the other techniques. Deepfake technologies also have the benefit of economies of large scale as they are abundantly available for use by anyone.
  3. It must be noted that deepfake videos of public personalities such as film stars and politicians gauge more attention due to the factor of relatability of the audience with the public figures.
  4. Ease of accessibility is another factor that influences the circulation of the fake video. India, today, is the world’s second largest country in terms of active internet users with more than half of the population has access to the internet. The high rate is internet accessibility is directly proportional to high number of social media users and social media engagement by public. This directly impacts the widespread nature of deepfakes in the country.

What can you do?

  1. Online Complaint – File a complaint on National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal which is an initiative of Government of India to facilitate victims/complainants to report cyber-crime complaints online. This portal caters to complaints pertaining to cyber-crimes for Cyber-citizens. The portal has a separate section with special focus on cyber-crimes against women and children. Complaints reported on this portal are dealt by law enforcement agencies/ police based on the information available in the complaints. It is imperative to provide correct and accurate details while filing complaint for prompt action. [6]These complaints would be also dealt under the Indian Penal Code for criminal actions as applicable.
  2. Police Complaint – File a FIR with the cyber-cell of the local police station. Such a complaint would attract the charges under the IPC as well as the IT Act such as:
    1. Impersonation (Section 420 of the IPC)
    2. Cheating (Section 419 of the IPC)
    3. Identity Theft (Section 66 of the IT Act)
    4. Violation of Privacy (Section 66E of the IT Act)
    5. Publishing and Transmitting obscene material (Section 67 of the IT Act)
  3. Reporting mechanism with the social media intermediaries – Report the deepfake with the respective Social Media Intermediary. Social media intermediaries such as Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc, typically provide reporting mechanisms for handling various types of abusive or harmful content, including deepfakes.
  4. Some remedial examples include:

    1. Flagging Tool: Most social media platforms feature a flagging tool that permit users to report content that they believe violates the community standards or terms of service. Users can typically access this tool by clicking on a “Report” or “Flag” button located near the content they wish to report.
      For instance, if a user receives a deepfake video in a WhatsApp chat, they can report the same by long-pressing on it, selecting the “Report” option, and choosing the appropriate category (e.g. “Spam” or “Misinformation”).[7]
    2. Content Removal Request Form: For instance, Facebook offers a content removal request form where users can report deepfake videos by providing relevant details and supporting evidence.[8]
    3. Fact Checking Helpline: It had been recently reported that the Misinformation Combat Alliance and Meta will be launching a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp to combat artificial intelligence generated media (deepfakes), which may deceive people on matters of public importance and help people connect with verified and credible information. This initiative will allow MCA and its associated networks to address viral misinformation-particularly deepfakes. [9]

Government Advisories on Deepfakes

The Union Government had issued an Advisory dated November 07, 2024 to all the social media platforms directing them to ensure due diligence on spread of misinformation and deepfakes thereby mandating them to remove such content from their platforms within 36 hours of reporting.[10]

The advisory further mandated compliance with the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021 and any failure to comply would empower the aggrieved to take the platform to court under the provisions of the IPC.

Ahana Bag, Junior Associate Advocate at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this Article.

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