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Deepfakes: Sachin Tendulkar Becomes Latest Victim, Sparking Concerns Ahead of Indian Elections



Deepfakes: Sachin Tendulkar Becomes Latest Victim, Sparking Concerns Ahead of Indian Elections

MUMBAI: Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary Indian cricketer, has joined the growing list of celebrities falling victim to deepfakes, raising anxieties about the weaponization of AI-generated content in the lead-up to the country’s general election.

A deepfake video of Tendulkar endorsing an online gaming app went viral on social media, falsely claiming his daughter’s financial gain through the app. Tendulkar swiftly debunked the video, calling for vigilance and action against misinformation.  If you want to know more about AI-enabled crime and the impact of deepfake videos then do join FutureCrime Summit 2024.

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“These videos are fake. It is disturbing to see rampant misuse of technology. Request everyone to report videos, ads & apps like these in large numbers,” Tendulkar pleaded on a social media platform, sharing the doctored video.

Bollywood and Other Celebrities Speak Out

Tendulkar is not the first Indian celebrity to raise concerns about the alarming rise of deepfake content. In recent months, prominent Bollywood stars, including Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, and Rashmika Mandanna, have fallen victim to similar deepfake scandals.

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Government Takes Action

India’s IT minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, recently revealed that notices have been issued to all major social media companies, instructing them to take proactive measures in identifying and removing disinformation, especially deepfakes, from their platforms.

“Deepfake is a big issue for all of us. We recently issued notices to all the big social media firms, asking them to take steps to identify deepfakes, for removing those content. The social media platforms have responded. They are taking action. We have told them to be more aggressive in this work,” Minister Vaishnaw stated.

Deepfake Technology: A Growing Threat

Deepfakes involve the digital manipulation of one person’s likeness with that of another using AI technology, and they can take various forms, including audio, video, and images. The proliferation of deepfakes on social media has been described as a “new threat to democracy.”

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Prime Minister Modi’s Concerns

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed concerns about the misuse of deepfake technology, especially in the context of the upcoming general election. He emphasized the importance of understanding AI and its potential use in creating misleading content.

“With elections around the corner, fears over deepfakes and manipulating voters are at an all-time high. People can fall prey to believing what they see to be true… and this will lead us towards a major crisis,” Prime Minister Modi warned.

Global Implications

Deepfake technology is not limited to India; it poses a global threat. Prominent figures worldwide, including Pope Francis, former US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have been targeted by deepfakes. The numbers of fake videos online have been steadily increasing, with India being identified as the sixth most susceptible country to this growing threat.

Calls for Action

As governments grapple with the deepfake menace, experts emphasize the need for a policy response. Jency Jacob, managing editor of Boom, a fact-checking website, commented, “Governments around the world are still working on a policy response, but we are yet to see anything that sounds like a plan.”

In response to these concerns, the Indian government has taken steps to regulate deepfakes by issuing amendments to the IT Rules in the coming days. With the general election approaching, the battle against deepfake technology intensifies, as the nation grapples with the formidable challenge of safeguarding the truth in the digital age.

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