The Shadow of Deepfakes and Misinformation Over India’s 2024 Elections

The Shadow of Deepfakes and Misinformation Over India’s 2024 Elections

As India completes the 2nd phase of the ongoing parliamentary elections, the onslaught of videos, articles and social media posts created with the help of AI tools confuses the voters a lot. However, even in some sections, voters can gauge the authenticity of such material. However, every voter can’t do so, particularly those who are living in rural areas. They tend to believe what they hear and watch on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. Let’s understand that the digital battleground is fraught with peril. With over half a billion active internet users and a growing reliance on social media platforms, the threat of AI-generated deepfakes and misinformation looms large.

The Deepfake Dilemma

Deepfakes, hyper-realistic videos created using artificial intelligence, have the potential to sway public opinion, disrupt campaigns, and undermine trust in the democratic process. This has surfaced lately in bulk from the opposite groups to mobilize the opinion of the masses. Political leaders, celebrities, and ordinary citizens are all vulnerable targets. Morphed videos, images and other media of political leaders such as Prime Miniter Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and others are circulating freely. Although a few steps have been taken to prevent this, limitations of resources with authorities are making their job really hard. Here’s why deepfakes pose a significant risk:

  1. Misleading Content: Deepfakes can convincingly alter speeches, interviews, or public appearances. Imagine a video of a prominent politician endorsing a radical policy they never actually supported. Such manipulated content can spread like wildfire, leaving voters confused and misinformed.
  2. Identity Theft: Deepfakes can impersonate politicians, creating scenarios where they say or do things they never did. A fabricated video of a candidate making controversial statements could damage their reputation irreparably.
  3. Confirmation Bias: Deepfakes exploit our cognitive biases. If a video aligns with our existing beliefs, we’re more likely to accept it as genuine. This confirmation bias can perpetuate false narratives and sway electoral outcomes.

The Misinformation Menace

Beyond deepfakes, misinformation floods social media platforms during election seasons. Here’s how it happens:

  1. Echo Chambers: Social media algorithms create echo chambers, reinforcing existing beliefs and filtering out dissenting views. Misinformation spreads rapidly within these closed circles.
  2. Confirmation Bias (Again): Users tend to share content that confirms their biases. False information gains traction because it aligns with preconceived notions.
  3. Lack of Fact-Checking: In the race to break news, fact-checking often takes a backseat. Misleading stories go viral before anyone verifies their accuracy.

The Role of Social Media Platforms

Social media companies must shoulder responsibility:

  1. Detection and Removal: Platforms need robust AI tools to detect deepfakes and misinformation. Swift removal of harmful content is crucial.
  2. Transparency: Companies should be transparent about their content moderation policies. Users deserve to know how misinformation is handled.
  3. User Education: Educating users about deepfakes and misinformation is essential. Critical thinking skills can help discern fact from fiction.

Government Action

India’s government recognizes the threat. Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has warned social media companies that they’ll be held accountable for AI-generated deepfakes on their platforms. But the battle is uphill:

  1. Legislation: Existing laws need updates to address deepfakes specifically. Stricter penalties for spreading misinformation are necessary.
  2. Collaboration: The government, tech companies, and civil society must collaborate to combat misinformation effectively.


As India heads to the polls, citizens must stay vigilant. Verify information, question sources, and be wary of sensational content. Democracy thrives on informed choices, and countering deepfakes and misinformation is our collective responsibility.

Remember: Not everything you see online is real. Let’s safeguard our democracy from the shadows of deception.



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