New Delhi: Four suspects involved in uploading a deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna online have been tracked and the hunt is on to nab the main conspirator, police said on Wednesday.
However, the four suspects turned out to be uploaders, not creators, the police said, adding that they were looking for the key conspirator in the case.
Out of the four suspects, three have been tracked based on the details provided by Meta, the company that owns and operates social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The investigation encountered an obstacle since the accused had reportedly removed and deleted information from their accounts, making it difficult for authorities to locate them. The Delhi Police’s cyber experts are currently searching for the key conspirator behind the post.
The deepfake videos featuring the actor were likely uploaded using a fake identity, and the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds another layer of difficulty in tracking the perpetrator.
It’s been a month since the Delhi Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) at the Special Cell in connection with the deepfake AI-generated video of actress Rashmika Mandanna.
Earlier, the Delhi Commission for Women had also sought action over the deepfake video of actress Rashmika Mandana, which circulated widely on social media platforms. Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw said on November 18 that notices were issued to all social media platforms directing them to take necessary steps to identify and remove such content.
Delhi Police IFSO (Internet Freedom and Safety for Online Users) unit earlier sent a letter to Meta (formerly Facebook) but the social media company responded by expressing its inability to provide details of the deleted account.
The sources informed that the police are awaiting a reply from GoDaddy (a publicly traded internet domain registry) since a similar profile was also made through GoDaddy.
Highlighting the danger of deepfakes, Ashwini Vaishnaw said on November 18 during an interaction with the media, “Deepfake is a big issue for all of us. We recently issued notices to all the big social media forms, asking them to take steps to identify deepfakes, to remove those content.The social media platforms have responded. They are taking action. We have told them to be more aggressive in this work.”
On November 6, a modified video of actor Rashmika Mandanna appeared online, sparking discussions about digital safety. In the viral video, it can be seen that a woman resembling the actress Rashmika was entering a lift wearing a black swimsuit.
The video quickly went viral and several social media users came forward to confirm that it was a deepfake.