Government issues fresh advisory to all intermediaries amid growing cases of deepfakes

New Delhi

The government on Tuesday issued a fresh advisory to all intermediaries including Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and Google (Youtube), to ensure compliance with the existing IT Rules amid growing concerns around misinformation powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – deepfakes.

“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 stated.

Removal of content

The Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules, mandates the removal of 11 types of content within 24 hours of receiving user complaints. It mandates intermediaries to communicate their rules, regulations, privacy policy, and user agreement in the user’s preferred language.

This rule also aims to ensure platforms identify and promptly remove misinformation, false or misleading content, and material impersonating others, including deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said adding that digital intermediaries must ensure users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the IPC and the IT Act 2000.

This advisory is the culmination of the discussions held by Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Electronics & IT and Jal Shakti, Rajeev Chandrasekhar during Digital India dialogues with intermediaries within one month, MeitY informed.

Misinformation threat

“Misinformation represents a deep threat to the safety and trust of users on the Internet. Deepfake which is misinformation powered by AI, further amplifies the threat to the safety and trust of our Digital Nagriks. On November 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alerted the country to the dangers of deepfakes and post that, the Ministry had two Digital India Dialogues with all the stakeholders of the Indian Internet to alert them about the provisions of the IT Rules notified in October 2022, and amended in April 2023,” Chandrasekhar said.

The Minister further emphasised that Rule 3(1)(b)(v) explicitly prohibits the dissemination of misinformation. Consequently, all intermediaries were asked to exercise due diligence in promptly removing such content from their platforms.

“…if such legal violations are noted or reported then the consequences under law will follow. MeitY will closely observe the compliance of intermediaries in the coming weeks and follow this up with further amendments to the IT Rules and/ or the law if and when required,” Chandrasekhar added.

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