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Maharashtra government demands severe action against deepfake content creators

The Maharashtra government on Friday directed the state police to take stern action against those creating deepfakes, saying such content is a cause for concern amid the poll season.

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The Maharashtra government on Friday directed the state police to take stern action against those creating deepfakes, saying such content is a cause for concern amid the poll season. According to an official release, the number of deepfakes and doctored photos being circulated on social media and digital media has risen during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Deepfake is a video of a person in which their appearance has been digitally altered so that they look like somebody else.

Such manipulated content is being created using “machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI)”, it said, adding that the use of this machinery during elections is a cause for concern.

Deepfake content creates misunderstanding and is defamatory, said the government. The government has asked the Director-General of Police (DGP) to curb such practices and ensure a clean and transparent electoral process. The police have been asked to take stern action against “anti-social elements making and circulating such content”, the release said.

The order comes days after the Mumbai police registered a case against a Youth Congress social media handle and 16 others for allegedly sharing a deepfake of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In the fake video, the BJP leader was purportedly seen announcing the curtailment of reservation rights of the SCs, STs and OBCs. Last month, the Maharashtra police had booked an X user for allegedly uploading a deepfake video where Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh appeared to be making an appeal to vote for Congress.

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