Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake: Regulate AI, don’t ban it


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: deepfake

Mains level: Discussions on Deepfakes


Central idea

The article highlights challenges in deepfake regulation using the example of the Rashmika Mandanna video. It calls for a balanced regulatory approach, citing existing frameworks like the IT Act, and recommends clear guidelines, public awareness, and potential amendments in upcoming legislation such as the Digital India Act to effectively tackle deepfake complexities.

What is deepfake?

  • Definition: Deepfake involves using advanced artificial intelligence (AI), particularly deep learning algorithms, to create manipulated content like videos or audio recordings.
  • Manipulation: It can replace or superimpose one person’s likeness onto another, making it appear as though the targeted individual is involved in activities they never participated in.
  • Concerns: Deepfakes raise concerns about misinformation, fake news, and identity theft, as the technology can create convincing but entirely fabricated scenarios.
  • Legitimate Use: Despite concerns, deepfake technology has legitimate uses, such as special effects in the film industry or anonymizing individuals, like journalists reporting from sensitive or dangerous situations.
  • Sophistication Challenge: The increasing sophistication of AI algorithms makes it challenging to distinguish between genuine and manipulated content.

Key Highlights:

  • Deepfake Impact: The article discusses the impact of deepfake technology, citing the example of a viral video of actor Rashmika Mandanna, which turned out to be a deepfake.
  • Regulatory Responses: It explores different approaches to regulate deepfakes, highlighting the need for a balanced response that considers both AI and platform regulation. Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s mention of regulations under the IT Act is discussed.
  • Legitimate Uses: The article recognizes that while deepfakes can be misused for scams and fake videos, there are also legitimate uses, such as protecting journalists in oppressive regimes.


  • Regulatory Dilemma: The article points out the challenge of finding a balanced regulatory approach, acknowledging the difficulty in distinguishing between lawful and unlawful uses of deepfake technology.
  • Detection Difficulty: Advancements in AI have made it increasingly difficult to detect deepfake videos, posing a threat to individuals depicted in such content and undermining trust in video evidence.
  • Legal Ambiguities: The article highlights legal ambiguities around deepfakes, as creating false content is not inherently illegal, and distinguishing between obscene, defamatory, or satirical content can be challenging.

Key Facts:

  • The article mentions the viral deepfake video of Rashmika Mandanna and its impact on the debate surrounding deepfake regulations.
  • It highlights the challenges in detecting the new generation of almost indistinguishable deepfakes.

Government Actions:

  • Legal Frameworks in Action: The Indian government relies on the Information Technology (IT) Act to regulate online content. For instance, platforms are obligated to remove unlawful content within specific timeframes, demonstrating an initial approach to content moderation.
  • Policy Discussions on Deepfakes: Policymakers are actively engaging in discussions regarding amendments to the IT Act to explicitly address deepfake-related challenges. This includes considerations for adapting existing legal frameworks to the evolving landscape of AI-generated content.

What more needs to be done:

  • Legislative Clarity for Platforms: Governments should provide explicit guidance within legislative frameworks, instructing online platforms on the prompt identification and removal of deepfake content. For instance, specifying mechanisms to ensure compliance with content moderation obligations within stringent timelines.
  • AI Regulation Example: Develop targeted regulations for AI technologies involved in deepfake creation. China’s approach, requiring providers to obtain consent from individuals featured in deepfakes, serves as a specific example. Such regulations could be incorporated into existing legal frameworks.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Drawing inspiration from successful public awareness initiatives in other domains, governments can implement campaigns similar to those addressing cybersecurity. These campaigns would educate citizens about the existence and potential threats of deepfakes, empowering them to identify and report such content.
  • Global Collaboration Instances: Emphasizing the need for global collaboration, governments can cite successful instances of information-sharing agreements. For example, collaboration frameworks established between countries to combat cyber threats could serve as a model for addressing cross-border challenges posed by deepfakes.
  • Technological Innovation Support: Encourage research and development by providing grants or incentives for technological solutions. Specific examples include initiatives that have successfully advanced cybersecurity technologies, showcasing the government’s commitment to staying ahead of evolving threats like deepfake.

Way Forward:

  • Multi-pronged Regulatory Response: The article suggests avoiding reactionary calls for specialized regulation and instead opting for a comprehensive regulatory approach that addresses both AI and platform regulation.
  • Digital India Act: The upcoming Digital India Act is seen as an opportunity to address deepfake-related issues by regulating AI, emerging technologies, and online platforms.


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