Rashmika Mandanna reacts to viral deepfake: ‘Extremely scary’

The actor has called for urgent and collective action against the misuse of digital technology to inflict harm on public figures and women

November 06, 2023 04:46 pm | Updated 06:27 pm IST

Rashmika Mandanna

Rashmika Mandanna

Rashmika Mandanna has spoken out after a ‘deepfake’ video of the actor was widely circulated online.

On Sunday, a video went viral of a woman resembling Rashmika entering an elevator in a black outfit. The clip, however, was later exposed to be a ‘deepfake’, a piece of AI-generated media that replaces a person’s likeness with that of another. Often convincing in appearance, deepfakes are created to spread misinformation or malign specific individuals.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Rashmika wrote, “I feel really hurt to share this and have to talk about the deepfake video of me being spread online. Something like this is honestly, extremely scary not only for me, but also for each one of us who today is vulnerable to so much harm because of how technology is being misused.

“Today, as a woman and as an actor, I am thankful for my family, friends and well wishers who are my protection and support system. But if this happened to me when I was in school or college, I genuinely can’t imagine how could I ever tackle this.We need to address this as a community and with urgency before more of us are affected by such identity theft,” Rashmika wrote on X, tagging the concerned cyber cells.

Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan had earlier reacted to the video and demanded legal action. Bachchan and Rashmika had worked in the 2022 family drama Goodbye.

Bachchan was the first to react after a fact-checker posted the deepfake clip along with the original video of a British-Indian social media personality named Zara Patel, and demanded an urgent need for a legal and regulatory framework to deal with deepfakes in India. Responding to the post, Bachchan wrote, “Yes this is a strong case for legal”.

Taking cognizance of the issue, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted on Monday that the government is committed to protecting its citizens online. Mentioning the IT rules notified in April, 2023, the minister said that platforms are obligated to fight misinformation and that deepfakes are the “latest and even more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation and needs to be dealt with by platforms”.

Rashmika starred in the blockbuster Pushpa: The Rise and will feature in the upcoming Hindi action thriller Animal co-starring Ranbir Kapoor.

(with PTI inputs)

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