Published on: January 2, 2023



Why in news? Nation-state actors with geopolitical aspirations, ideological believers, violent extremists, and economically motivated enterprises can manipulate social media narratives with easy and unprecedented reach and scale. The disinformation threat has a new tool in the form of deepfakes.


What are deepfakes?

  • They are digital media video, audio, and images edited and manipulated using Artificial Intelligence and basically hyper-realistic digital falsification.

How it is created ?

  • They are created to inflict harm on individuals and institutions.
  • Access to commodity cloud computing, public research AI algorithms, and abundant data and availability of vast media have created a perfect storm to democratise the creation and manipulation of media and this synthetic media content is referred to as deepfakes.

How can it exploit the system ?

  • They have clear benefits in certain areas, such as accessibility, education, film production, criminal forensics, and artistic expression. However, as access to synthetic media technology increases, so does the risk of exploitation.
  • It can be used to damage reputation, fabricate evidence, defraud the public, and undermine trust in democratic institutions and can be achieved with fewer resources, with scale and speed, and even micro-targeted to galvanise support.

Who are the victims?

  • The first case of malicious use of deepfake was detected in pornography and exclusively targets women.
  • It can depict a person as indulging in antisocial behaviors and with unpleasant things that they never did.
  • Deepfakes can also cause short-term and long-term social harm and such erosion can contribute to a culture of factual relativism, fraying the increasingly strained civil society fabric.
  • Act as a powerful tool by a malicious nation-state to undermine public safety and create uncertainty and chaos in the target country which can undermine trust in institutions and diplomacy.
  • It can be used by non-state actors, such as insurgent groups and terrorist organisations, to show their adversaries as making inflammatory speeches or engaging in provocative actions to stir anti-state sentiments among people.
  • Leaders may weaponise deepfakes and use fake news and alternative-facts narrative to dismiss an actual piece of media and truth that acts as liar’s dividend

What is the solution?

  • Media literacy for consumers is the most effective tool to combat disinformation and cultivate an insightful public
  • Need of meaningful regulations with a collaborative discussion with the technology industry, civil society, and policymakers to develop legislative solutions to disincentivising the creation of malicious deepfakes.
  • There is a need easy-to-use and accessible technology solutions to detect deepfakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources.

Way forward

To counter the menace of deepfakes, need to take the responsibility to be critical consumers of media on the Internet, think and pause before a  share on social media, and to be part of the solution to this ‘infodemic’


  • What are the ways in which AI-manipulated digital media can impact the lives of individuals as well as influence the public discourse? How is it employed by various groups and mention the measures taken by the society overcome the ‘infodemic’?