A deepfake of the president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manoj Tiwari, went viral on WhatsApp in the country earlier this month, ahead of legislative assembly elections in Delhi, according to Vice. It’s the first time a political party anywhere has used a deepfake for campaigning purposes. In the original video Tiwari speaks in English, criticizing his political opponent Arvind Kejriwal and encouraging voters to vote for the BJP. The second video has been manipulated using deepfake technology so his mouth moves convincingly as he speaks in Haryanvi, the Hindi dialect spoken by the target voters for the BJP.
The police in the Jammu and Kashmir region have issued an “FIR” against individuals using social media via a VPN; “army personnel were allegedly checking phones to see if the owners had any VPN apps installed.” Critics have regularly argued that this partial access to the internet still counts as an internet shutdown.