Indian superstar Bhuvan Bam files complaint over deepfake video promoting sports betting

Garance Limouzy 2 weeks ago
Indian superstar Bhuvan Bam files complaint over deepfake video promoting sports betting

Bhuvan Bam, the famous Indian YouTuber and actor, filed a complaint about a deepfake video of himself that was published online. In the video, he appeared to be promoting a bookie offering bets on tennis tournaments.

Bhuvan Bam has a total of 26.4 million followers on YouTube, 19.4 million on Instagram, and 3.9 million on X, formerly known as Twitter, making him the perfect target. The popular Indian YouTuber warned his followers not to believe the viral video, which could potentially lead them to illegal or dangerous content. He urged his fans to be cautious to avoid financial losses. Bam filed a police complaint in Mumbai, resulting in the video being taken down.

He is not the first influencer to be targeted by deepfake schemes. Several Indian celebrities and actors have been deepfaked into videos promoting various political parties during recent elections.

Bhuvan Bam’s past issues with ASCI

As partnerships between the iGaming market and influencers are increasing, the government issued a warning to celebrities in March 2024 regarding advertising for unlicensed offshore online operators.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released a list in May 2023, naming celebrities who did not follow due diligence in advertising. Bhuvan Bam topped the list with seven cases of non-compliance and gaming was among the categories with the highest number of problematic content, alongside education, healthcare, and personal care.

According to ASCI, in 2023, complaints against celebrities increased by 803%, totalling 503 advertisements compared to 55 the previous year.

“The Consumer Protection Act now legally requires celebrities to do their due diligence when they appear in ads. However, in 97% of cases reviewed by ASCI involving celebrities, they failed to provide any evidence of due diligence,” the report stated. Failing to do so, influencers can lead their followers to illegal schemes and financial losses.

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