The modern-day equivalent of Photoshopping, deepfakes use artificial intelligence and deep learning to produce images of fake events. According to researchers, deepfake technology is being used as a weapon against women. There is a ton of humor, satire, and mischief in addition to pornography.
According to reporter Abhishek Kumar of the fact-checking website Alt News, the well-known deepfake video “is perfect enough for ordinary social media users to fall for it.”
An actor from Telugu named Rashmika Mandanna was featured in a deepfake video that went viral on social media on Monday. X and Twitter both saw the video shared. Zara Patel is a British-Indian woman whose face was superimposed on her body in the video.
Gender-based violence on the internet has been made more visible by the actress Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake.
Rashmika Mandanna posted on Twitter, saying, “I have to talk about the deep fake video of me that is going around, and I feel really hurt to share this.” In all honesty, something like this scares the living daylights out of me and every other person alive because we are all so susceptible to harm from misused technology.
I am grateful to my family, friends, and well-wishers today as a woman and an actor because they provide me with protection and support. If this had happened to me in high school or college, though, I really do not know how I would have handled it. We must act quickly as a community to address this issue before more people fall victim to identity theft of this kind.”
It is not a recent occurrence for altered photos and videos of women, especially famous women, to become extremely popular on the internet. Their existence dates back to the early days of the Internet. Thanks to AI-based tools, creating realistic deepfakes that sound and look real has become much easier, quicker, and more skilled for the average person.
Numerous artificial intelligence tools currently offer the capability to “remove the clothes” from an uploaded photo. Twice in the last month alone, AI-generated images of teenage and tween girls went viral in their towns and schools. The incidents happened in the US and Spain. In both instances, the girls’ social media images served as inspiration for the young boys’ original works.
There are several accounts and subreddits on Reddit and Twitter where users frequently create deepfakes of well-known women, typically actresses from movies, performing lewd acts.
“Women who experience this type of cyberbullying are shut out of virtual communities and experience psychological fear. According to Malavika Rajkumar, a project associate at IT For Change, this type of targeting harms women’s mental health by causing emotional and psychological stress. It also has a negative impact on the economy and results in women losing their jobs out of concern for their reputations.
But in this instance, Patel has also lost her agency since she is reduced to nothing more than her physical appearance; gender-based violence on the internet is not exclusive to Mandanna.
The video sexualizes women and turns them into objects of desire, endangering their autonomy, privacy, and physical integrity as it goes viral and spreads. This is becoming more and more popular because toxic masculinity and patriarchy are so pervasive on the internet. Rajkumar asserts that “the online-offline continuum replicates the offline world’s problems online.”
Is there a remedy offered by the law? To some extent,
“India urgently needs a legislative and regulatory framework to address deepfake,” Kumar wrote on Twitter.
As per the April 2023 IT rules notification, platforms are legally required to make sure that no false information is posted by users and to make sure that any false information reported by users or the government is removed within 36 hours.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the state minister for electronics and information technology, tweeted, “If platforms fail to adhere to this, rule 7 will come into effect, and the aggrieved party may take the platform to court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.”