More and more Indians are encountering deepfake content: Survey

Almost 75% of Indians have encountered deepfake content, according to a new McAfee survey. (File Photo)
Almost 75% of Indians have encountered deepfake content, according to a new McAfee survey. (File Photo)


  • According to a new global McAfee survey on the impact of AI, 1 in 4 Indians recently came across a political deepfake they later discovered to be fake

Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting consumers in many ways. The recent spate of deepfake scams circulating on instant messaging platforms is just one example.

Now, a new survey released on 25 April by cybersecurity and online protection company McAfee has revealed that 75% of Indians have encountered deepfake content, with 31% of Indians listing the influence of deepfake on the ongoing general elections as one of the AI-powered technology’s most concerning issues. Deepfake can be any video, photograph, or audio clip that seems real but has been manipulated with the help of AI.

Also read: Cybersecurity in 2024: The season of deception and deepfakes

McAfee conducted research for the survey in January and February of this year, across multiple countries to understand how AI and technology are changing the future. The study was conducted by MSI- ACI with 7,000 consumers globally across the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, India, Japan.

The findings say 1 In 4 Indians (22%) said they recently came across a political deepfake they later discovered to be fake.

Meanwhile, misinformation and disinformation emerged as some other key concerns for Indians surveyed, with recent incidents involving celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Aamir Khan, Ranveer Singh serving as an example of what could become a bigger issue.

When asked what potential uses of deepfakes were most concerning, 55% said cyberbullying, 52% said creating fake pornographic content, 49% said facilitating scams, 44% said impersonating public figures, 37% said undermining public trust in media, 31% said influencing elections, and 27% said distorting historical facts.

With major ongoing and upcoming political and sports events, both locally and globally, such as the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the ongoing Indian Premier League cricket tournament and more, there is bound to be an increase in the number of such deepfake content.

While a small part of the people surveyed said they were more concerned about deepfakes now than in 2023, some also said AI is making it hard to tell what is real and what is fake. Nearly 8 of 10 (80%) people are more concerned about deepfakes than they were a year ago, the findings of the survey said. More than half (64%) of respondents say AI has made it harder to spot online scams, while just 30% of people felt confident they could tell real from fake if someone shared a voicemail or voice note that was generated using AI.

Deepfake scams are also on the rise. In the past 12 months, 75% of people say they’ve seen deepfake content, 38% of people have encountered a deepfake scam, and 18% have been a victim of a deepfake scam. Of the people affected by deepfake scams, 57% said they came across a video, image, or recording of a celebrity and thought it was real, with 31% losing money to a scam. Around 40% of the surveyed users said they believe their voice was cloned and used to try and trick someone they know to part with personal information or money.

“In this day and age anyone can create deepfakes and cloned audio using readily accessible tools, which takes only a few minutes to create. Recently, India has been witness to an unprecedented surge in cases of Deepfake content of public and private figures. The ease with which AI can manipulate voices and visuals raises critical questions about the authenticity of content, particularly during a critical election year," Pratim Mukherjee, senior director of engineering, McAfee, said in a news release. “It’s imperative that consumers to be cautious and take proactive steps to stay informed and safeguard themselves against misinformation, disinformation and deepfake scams."

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