Viral Deepfakes Of Politicians And Actors Raise Alarm Bells For Indian Elections

As the nation navigates the pivotal 2024 Lok Sabha elections, a concerning trend has emerged – the proliferation of deepfake content targeting prominent political figures.

Screengrabs of Viral Deepfakes of Mamata Banerjee, Ranveer Singh, Arvind Kejriwal

2024 is the most important year in terms of global democracy in which elections are being held in more than 60 countries. India has reached the final phase of Lok Sabha elections and amid the election promises and campaigns, a big debate has emerged in India and the whole world about the correct use of AI in political and democratic structures. In the Indian context, many such incidents have come to light in which political parties have been found using AI and Deepfake in their campaigns.

Every day, Deepfake content related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal keeps going viral on the Internet in which their pictures and voices are manipulated. Most of these contents are presented satirically, but several times, due to such content, the image of politicians and parties also seems to be tarnished.

Here is a list of incidents in which Deepfake content involving political parties and politicians has been shared on the Internet:

Manoj Tiwari: In February 2020, just before the Delhi Assembly elections, a video of BJP leader and MP Manoj Tiwari started going viral on DAI by BJP supporters. In this video, Manoj Tiwari is seen speaking against the election promises of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Haryanvi dialect. In another video, Manoj Tiwari was seen saying the same things in English. After this video went viral, Vice Media published a report in which it was reported that both these videos were made using AI. In this report, it was told that a Chandigarh firm named Ideaz Factory made this video for the BJP IT cell. After this incident, another video of Manoj Tiwari surfaced in which he congratulated people in Hindi on the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Rajya Sabha, it was reported that two videos in Haryanvi and English were made by editing this video.

Mamata Banerjee: An animated video of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was being circulated since the beginning of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, this video was created using AI. On May 6, Kolkata Police issued a notice under Section 149 against its broadcaster. According to news reports, notices were issued against more than 70 people in this case.

Ranveer Singh: In April this year, a video of film actor Ranveer Singh also went viral in which he was criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of unemployment and inflation. Later this video was found to be created by AI. Later Ranveer Singh also filed an FIR against it.

Amir Khan: Ahead of elections, in April, a video of film actor Aamir Khan also went viral in which he is seen saying that every person in the country should get Rs 15 lakh. In another similar video, he is seen asking for votes for Congress but later he said in a statement that he does not endorse any political party, and this video is deepfake.

Amit Shah: Just before the Lok Sabha elections in April, a video of Home Minister Amit Shah went viral in which he was addressing a rally in Telangana and saying that the reservation for SC, ST and OBC is unconstitutional and that if the BJP forms the government, he will reappeal this reservation. Later, Amit Shah held a press conference and said that this video is fake, and parts of his speech have been edited. He also played his original speech in which he had said that he would reappeal Muslim reservation.

Arvind Kejriwal: After the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in March, a video of Arvind Kejriwal started being circulated on BJP-affiliated social media pages in which he can be seen singing the song 'Bhula Dena Mujhe' from the movie Aashiqui 2 with a guitar inside the jail, but independent fact-checking websites described this video as deepfake.