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The danger of deep fakes

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges


Source: TH


Direction: The article explains deepfakes, threats as a result of malicious deepfakes, steps taken by countries across the world and some solutions to curb them.


Context: The disinformation threat has a new tool in the form of deep fakes.


What are deepfakes?

  • Deepfakes are digital media – video, audio, and images edited and manipulated using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to inflict harm on individuals and institutions.
  • AI-Generated Synthetic media or deepfakes have clear benefits in certain areas, such as accessibility, education, film production, criminal forensics, and artistic expression.
  • However, it can be exploited (hyper-realistic digital falsification) to damage the reputation, fabricate evidence, defraud the public, and undermine trust in democratic institutions with fewer resources (cloud computing, AI algorithms and abundant data).




  • 96% of deepfakes are pornographic videos, reducing women to sexual objects and causing emotional distress.
  • Deepfake can depict a person as indulging in antisocial behaviours and can create social discord, increase polarization, and can even influence the election outcome
  • Deepfakes can accelerate the trust deficit in traditional media and could be used by nation-state actors to create chaos in the target country, undermining trust in institutions and
  • Misuse by non-state actors (terrorist organisations), to stir anti-state sentiments among people.
  • The threat of the liar’s dividend – an undesirable truth is dismissed as deepfake or fake news, giving more credibility to denials.
  • Weaponisation of deepfakes, use of fake news and alternative-facts narrative to dismiss an actual piece of media and truth.



What countries are doing to combat deep fakes?

  • China: A new policy that requires service providers and users to ensure that any doctored content using the technology is explicitly labelled and can be traced back to its source.
  • The European Union: an updated Code of Practice, that requires tech companies including Google, Meta, and Twitter to take measures in countering deepfakes on their platforms.
    • If found non-compliant, these companies can face fines of as much as 6% of their annual global turnover.
  • The U.S: The bipartisan Deepfake Task Force Act to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to counter deepfake technology by conducting an annual study of deep fakes.
  • In India, there are no legal rules against using deep fake technology. However, specific laws can be addressed for misusing the tech, which includes Copyright Violation, Defamation and cybercrimes.



Case of Canada:

  • While Canada does not have any regulations to tackle deep fakes, it is undertaking some of the most cutting-edge AI research with a number of domestic and foreign actors.
  • Also, Canada is a member and leader in many related multilateral initiatives (Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, Global Partnership on AI), which can be utilised to create deepfake policy in different areas.




  • Media literacy for consumers is the most effective tool to combat disinformation and deep fakes.
  • Meaningful regulations with a collaborative discussion with the technology industry, civil society and policymakers to disincentivise the creation and distribution of malicious deepfakes.
  • Easy-to-use and accessible technology solutions to detect deepfakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources.
  • Social media platforms are taking cognizance of the deepfake issue, and almost all of them have some policy or acceptable terms of use for deepfakes.




Conclusion: We must all take responsibility for being critical Internet media consumers, thinking and pausing before sharing on social media, and being part of the solution to this ‘infodemic.’


Insta Links:

Countering Deepfakes


Mains Links:

Q. Use of the internet and social media by non-state actors for subversive activities is a major security concern. How have these been misused in the recent past? Suggest effective guidelines to curb the above threat. (UPSC 2016)