25th September 2021

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#CoupleChallenge

The latest trend on the Internet is the “Couple Challenge”, in which thousands of people around the world have shared photos with their partners or spouses on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

  • But the seemingly innocent challenge of social media has prompted law enforcement agencies in India to warn users not to share their images online after receiving complaints from people whose images and personal information have been misused by cybercriminals.
  • Pune police issued a warning message on their official Twitter account on Thursday, warning social media users to “think twice before posting a photo with your partner.”
  • “A ‘cute’ challenge can go wrong if you’re not careful! #Care, ”the tweet read.

What is the #CoupleChallenge?

To date, more than 37,000 images have been shared on Instagram alone under the hashtag “Couple Challenge.” With this hashtag, Internet users celebrated their relationships online by sharing images with their spouses and partners.

  • The challenge also sparked a wave of memes on social media, with some people using Photoshop editing software to digitally insert themselves into images with their favorite celebrities.
  • Local law enforcement authorities, such as the Nagpur Police, have even used the challenge to share memes promoting good practices during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, such as wearing face masks.

Why are the police warning Internet users not to participate in the #CoupleChallenge?

  • In their recent Twitter post, the Pune Police warned users to think twice before sharing their images on social media, as they can be transformed, modified or used for pornographic purposes and other cybercrimes.
  • “Couple Challenge is again a trend on social networks. Just be aware that these photos may be misused for morphing, revenge porn, deep scythes, etc.
  • Police personnel said they have already received several complaints from people harassed about the misuse of their photos and personal information. Some claimed that their images had been transformed and uploaded to “obscene websites” by criminal elements.
  • At a press conference, cyber police station police inspector Jayram Paigude told reporters that people should be careful before posting their personal information on social media.

What constitutes “revenge porn” and “deep fakes”?

  • Over the years, thousands of people, especially women, have been the victims of cyber crimes such as fake and vindictive porn.
  • “Deep manipulation” is computer-generated images and videos made with artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
  • Criminals using artificial intelligence software can now easily superimpose a person’s face on an existing video or photo.
  • In March 2018, for example, a fake video of the then first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, appeared on Reddit. An app called FakeApp was used to superimpose her face on a porn star’s video. A similar pornographic video appeared on the Internet in 2017, with actor Gal Gadot.
  • It is not uncommon for criminals to use false or altered images to blackmail victims, get revenge, or commit fraud on social media and dating sites.
  • The creation or sharing of sexually explicit images or videos on the Internet without the consent of the subjects and as a means of harassing them is known as revenge pornography.
  • Cybercrime officials in India have been tracking apps and websites known to produce nude photos of innocent people using artificial intelligence algorithms. These images are often shared by criminals without the person’s consent on pornographic websites.
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