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    Guide: Deepfakes and Elections

    India is in the middle of its general elections, the results of which are expected to be out in the next few weeks. While several people have noted how this election has been the most aggressive they have witnessed in years, the deployment of unprecedented levels of AI-generated content in electioneering (including dissemination of mis- and disinformation against rival political parties/candidates) in India has thrown up some existential questions for democracies worldwide.

    Deepfakes, a category of AI-generated content that mimics real personalities—using voice, image, or video—synthesised to manipulate reality, has gained special attention. What makes deepfakes especially troublesome when it comes to elections, experts say, is not only its ability to create “real-looking” content but also, in the long run, alter how we perceive reality in the first place. The era of “information uncertainty” has arrived.

    A significant role in this mix of deepfakes and democracy has been assumed by social media platforms—which act as the channels through which such politically infused deepfakes find their way (or are rather fed) to the consumers of those platforms. This has brought their role in the elections in the age of AI under scrutiny as well.

    Although deepfakes have been around for a while (India witnessed its first instance 4 years ago), its only now that we are seeing its effects on a larger scale. Here’s a guide to provide you with an overview of the matters at hand. We will be updating this list as more developments and analyses emerge. If you think we missed something, please write to with a link to the resource.

    Use of deepfakes

    For voter outreach/micro-targeting: Indian Voters Are Being Bombarded With Millions of Deepfakes. Political Candidates Approve (WIRED)

    For voter manipulation: Deepfake democracy: Behind the AI trickery shaping India’s 2024 election (Al Jazeera)

    For meme-creation by political parties: ‘Inflection point’: AI meme wars hit India election, test social platforms (Al Jazeera)

    Complaints, Concerns, and Demands


    BJP Files Complaint With Election Commission of India, Raising Concerns About Deepfakes [Read]

    Indian Actor Ranveer Singh Files FIR Against His Deepfake Criticising the BJP Government [Read]

    Aamir Khan Files Complaint Against Deepfake Video Promoting a Political Party [Read]

    PIL before Delhi High Court against circulation of deepfake videos during Lok Sabha polls [Read]


    Deep fakes could discourage women from contesting elections [Read, Read/BOOMLive]

    AI-generated false information may “radically” impact elections in several countries: World Economic Forum Report [Read]

    Wrongly labelling real or edited videos as ‘deepfakes’ could be used as a premise for drafting overreaching laws [Read /BOOMLive]

    Regulations for deepfakes must not threaten fundamental rights, public consultation required: Internet Freedom Foundation [Read]

    Intermediaries have varying functions, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach not suitable for deepfake regulation: The Software Alliance to MeitY [Read]


    Civil Societies Call for Stronger Election Safeguards Against Deepfakes in Letter to the Election Commission [Read]

    Guidelines, Agreements, and Efforts

    Election Commission of India shares social media guidelines directing parties to take down deepfakes within 3 hours [Read]

    Tech companies sign an accord to curb deepfakes ahead of 2024 elections [Read]

    Misinformation Combat Alliance and Meta partner on fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp [Read]

    Google Partners with the Election Commission to limit AI chatbots use to tackle misinformation in 2024 general elections [Read]

    Election Integrity in the AI Era: Open AI Lists New Measures in preparation of 2024 [Read]

    Event: Deepfakes and Democracy

    In January, MediaNama hosted an online discussion to explore the subject further and understand the implications of the various uses of deepfakes in a country like India.

    • How deep fakes could lead to greater misinformation in the upcoming elections [Read]
    • Can Deepfakes Be Used to Exploit User Verification Mechanisms? [Read]
    • How can the government and companies regulate spread of deep fakes? [Read]
    • Explainer: Why detecting deepfakes is a challenging problem [Read]

    You can also read a consolidated report of the event here and watch the recording of the discussion here.

    The Bigger Picture

    AI and elections—the good, the bad, and the evil [Read/Bar and Bench]

    “Governments must impose obligations throughout the supply chain to stop the proliferation of deepfakes”: Industry leaders, academics, actors, and others (1400+ signatories) write an open letter calling for anti-deepfake legislation [Read]


    The post Guide: Deepfakes and Elections appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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