Deepfakes – A Recent Threat To Politics And Democracy

From Mark Zuckerberg to Barack Obama, Deepfake videos have spread its roots

Doctoring images to produce anything is widely common and done in almost all walks of life. It’s known as Photoshop in general . Camera and the technology behind photo-editing have become sophisticated. You may come across an edited image of some superstar or maybe a politician.

A more advanced and influential innovation that is now becoming a global threat is; Deepfakes.

What are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes (deep learning + fake) are moving images or videos and sounds that undergo fabrication and doctoring. One can make Deepfakes through advance AI (Artificial Intelligence). Unless you analyze the video in-depth, you cannot differentiate between a real and a doctored one.

Deepfakes are becoming popular because of its notorious nature and malign motives. Alone in September 2019, around 11,000 Deepfakes were found. Among them, 96% turned out to be Pornographic videos tells the AI firm Deeptrace.

How are Deepfakes created?

If you have an internet connection and a device to access it on, you can create a Deepfake video.

Various techniques can create a Deepfake video. You can either opt for some coding at the basic level and then go for a software that can help you create those face-swapping videos and later add-on speech to it via another software.

Other than coding, you can also download Softwares that will do every work for you but will deliver low-quality and not so real Deepfakes.

Interesting Engineering

It is an estimate that at the pace of development witnessed in the AI sector, it will soon be next to impossible to identify a real and a Deepfake video.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, Deepfake poses a very critical threat to politics and democracy. For a normal functioning democracy, a few Deepfakes can create havoc among the masses and political parties.

Deepfake technology has the power to create acceptable videos of political leaders with the sole intention to disrupt their work and reputation.

In May 2018, Belgium’s Socialistische Partij Anders (SPA) posted a video on Facebook showing Trump taunting Belgium for remaining in the Paris climate agreement. The strange thing that made the experts dig into the video was Trump’s hair, which was looking weird. Other than his hair movements, the movement of his mouth raised some concerns over the authenticity of the video. The thing which raised maximum flags was the voiceover.

IEEE Spectrum

They endanger the moral side of practicing politics as political leaders can take undue advantage of creating Deepfakes during elections.

In February 2020, the Indian Politician Manoj Tiwary of the political party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) created two Deepfakes to lure votes. He created videos in Haryanvi and English. It was the very first time in the history of Indian Democracy that Deepfakes were used in gaining votes.

The Print

Doctored and photoshop images were used only for election campaigns, mostly in hoardings and banners. But with introducing Deepfake by the political party in power, it marks the beginning of a new era of politics.

In the world’s largest democracy, Deepfakes pose a threat which may seem a very minor one but is probably a bigger danger in the making. After the telecom industries offering internet at very cheap rates, the knowledge and availability of resources is much easier to grasp.

What are the legal provisions?

In India, Section 66D of the Information Technology act applies to punish the culprits. There is no direct law on Deepfakes, but Section 66D is comprehensible for Deepfakes.

Implementing the IT Act aimed at dealing with cyber damage and crimes. The section further goes on,

“Whoever, utilizing any communication device or computer resource cheats by personation, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees”

Deepfake vs ?

We live in the information era, and content passes from one person to another in no time. In this context, Deepfake may bind its root deep into the system and the only way to handle this malice is to counter it with information.


Tackle the Deepfake videos with real and factual ones. Prove the authenticity of the Deepfakes and suppress the very motive of bringing those videos out. As technology will bring in more innovations, it will be simpler but difficult to handle and manage Deepfakes.

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