Government may temporarily restrict websites and apps that violate deepfake regulations

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MeitY) has issued a warning to social media companies, stating that persistently breaking Indian laws—particularly those pertaining to deepfakes and other forbidden content—may result in the platform's temporary suspension from the country. Participants at the conference, which was facilitated by State Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, included representatives from Koo, Samsung, Apple, Reliance Jio, Meta, Google, Snap, Sharechat, and Telegram.

Few crucial points came up during the meeting between MeitY and the social media platforms on November 24. 

"For platforms that violate repeatedly, the possible consequence could also include, the rarely used, but possible option of blocking the platform temporarily on the Indian internet," a senior ministry official said to a news source. Two other sources confirmed the same. 

As per the rule, "misleading or deceptive information, including impersonation or spreading false facts, including false information about the Central government".  

The AI-generated content including deepfakes come under the domain of this rule, the government said. This development came a day after Minister for Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the government will begin work on a separate regulation dedicated to tackle deepfakes. 

During the meeting, the intermediaries were informed about the IT Rules’ other provisions like Rule 7, according to which if platforms do not comply to its provisions then the safe harbour provisions that they enjoy under the IT Act will not apply to them anymore.  

The safe harbour provision provides legal immunity to internet platforms against content shared by users on the platforms. 

"Intermediary can seek revocation of Rule 7 and reinstatement of its safe harbour by providing originator of information; or aggrieved party/MeitY can file FIR," said the presentation deck accessed by the news source.

Apart from that, the government will be giving social media platforms seven days to align their terms of service and other policies with Indian laws and regulations in order to address the hosting of deepfakes on these platforms, Chandrasekhar said during a media briefing on November 24.  

Chandrasekhar also said that under Rule 7 of the IT Rules, an officer will be nominated who will be entrusted with building a mechanism where users can put in their complaints regarding deepfakes. MeitY may also assist such aggrieved users with filing FIRs in such cases.