Deepfake concerns: MeitY issues advisory to all social media platforms to comply with IT rules

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued an advisory to all intermediaries and platforms to comply with IT rules amid growing concerns around deepfakes and misinformation powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), as per an official release issued on Tuesday, December 26. The advisory mandates that intermediaries (digital and social media platforms) communicate prohibited content, particularly those specified under Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules, clearly and precisely to users.

The advisory stated: “The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued an advisory to all intermediaries, ensuring compliance with the existing IT rules.”

The directive specifically targetted the growing concerns around misinformation powered by AI-Deepfakes.

This advisory is the culmination of discussions held by Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar with intermediaries.

As per the advisory: “The content not permitted under the IT Rules, in particular those listed under Rule 3(1)(b) must be clearly communicated to the users in clear and precise language including through its terms of service and user agreements and the same must be expressly informed to the user at the time of first-registration and also as regular reminders, in particular, at every instance of login and while uploading/sharing information onto the platform.” 

The advisory emphasises that digital intermediaries must ensure users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the IPC and the IT Act 2000. “The users must be made aware of the various penal provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, the IT Act, 2000 and such other laws that may be attracted in case of violation of Rule 3(1)(b). In addition, the terms of service and user agreements must clearly highlight that intermediaries/platforms are under obligation to report legal violations to the law enforcement agencies under the relevant Indian laws applicable to the context,” it further added. 

In addition, the advisory says that terms of service and user agreements must clearly highlight that intermediaries/platforms are under obligation to report legal violations to the law enforcement agencies under the relevant Indian laws applicable to the context.

“Rule 3(1)(b) within the due diligence section of the IT rules mandates intermediaries to communicate their rules, regulations, privacy policy, and user agreement in the user’s preferred language,” it said.

Platforms are obliged to ensure reasonable efforts to prevent users from hosting, displaying, uploading, modifying, publishing, transmitting, storing, updating, or sharing any information related to the 11 listed user harms or content prohibited on digital intermediaries.

Deepfakes refer to synthetic or doctored media that is digitally manipulated and altered to convincingly misrepresent or impersonate someone, using a form of artificial intelligence.

Recently, several ‘deepfake’ videos of leading actors had gone viral, sparking public outrage and raising concerns over the misuse of technology and tools for creating doctored content and fake narratives.

(With Agency Inputs)

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