In a closed-door meeting on Friday, India’s deputy IT minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, issued a stern warning to major social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, urging them to take immediate action to combat the spread of deepfakes and content that violates local laws on obscenity and misinformation.
Chandrasekhar expressed dissatisfaction with the compliance of many social media companies with the 2022 rules that explicitly prohibit the dissemination of content considered “harmful” to children, obscene, or that involves impersonation. The deputy IT minister highlighted the alarming trend of deepfakes, lifelike videos generated by artificial intelligence algorithms trained on online content, as a growing concern that requires urgent attention.
During the closed-door meeting, Chandrasekhar directed the social media firms to actively remind users, through repeated notifications upon login or other means, of the existing legal prohibitions on posting deepfakes and content that spreads obscenity or misinformation. He emphasized the need for companies to update their usage terms to reflect these regulations, stating that failure to do so voluntarily would result in official directives mandating compliance.
The deputy IT minister deemed the demand a “non-negotiable” requirement of the Indian government, asserting its commitment to safeguarding the online space from potentially harmful content. The sources, who preferred to remain anonymous due to the private nature of the meeting, revealed that Chandrasekhar explicitly conveyed his willingness to issue official orders if social media platforms failed to implement the necessary measures voluntarily.
In response to the warning, India’s IT ministry released a press statement asserting that all social media platforms present at the meeting had agreed to align their content guidelines with the government’s stipulated rules. The statement did not specify the consequences for non-compliance but underscored the government’s determination to ensure a safer digital environment for its citizens.