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China's popular face-swapping app Zao provokes privacy concerns

The Japan Times

HONG KONG – Chinese face-swap app Zao rocketed to the top of app store charts over the weekend, but user delight at the prospect of becoming instant superstars quickly turned sour as privacy implications began to sink in. Launched recently, Zao is currently topping the free download chart on China's iOS store. Its popularity has also pushed another face-swap app, Yanji, to fifth place on the list. Behind Zao is a company fully owned by Chinese hookup and live-streaming service Momo Inc. Users of the app upload a photo of themselves to drop their likeness into popular scenes from hundreds of movies or TV shows. It's a chance to be the star and swap places with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DiCaprio or Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory" in a matter of moments.


Social Media Users Entranced, Concerned by Chinese Face-Swapping Deepfake App

TIME - Tech

Chinese face-swap app Zao rocketed to the top of app store charts over the weekend, but user delight at the prospect of becoming instant superstars quickly turned sour as privacy implications began to sink in. Launched recently, Zao is currently topping the free download chart on China's iOS store. Its popularity has also pushed another face-swap app, Yanji, to fifth place on the list. Behind Zao is a company fully owned by Chinese hookup and live-streaming service Momo Inc. Users of the app upload a photo of themselves to drop their likeness into popular scenes from hundreds of movies or TV shows. It's a chance to be the star and swap places with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DiCaprio or Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory in a matter of moments.


Viral face-swapping app faces backlash over data privacy concerns

#artificialintelligence

New Chinese artificial Intelligence app, Zao which looks like any other face-swapping app subsequently triggered a backlash from media over the apparent lack of data privacy protections. Zao was first released on August 30 and became the top application on both Android and iPhone app stores in China. But users soon began to criticize this app for its loss of data privacy protection. As a result the social media app WeChat reportedly banned users from sharing videos created using the Zao. It also raised concerns due to another feature which allows a user to upload photos of themselves and superimpose their faces on clips of celebrities or anyone else.


Another convincing deepfake app goes viral prompting immediate privacy backlash

#artificialintelligence

Zao, a free deepfake face-swapping app that's able to place your likeness into scenes from hundreds of movies and TV shows after uploading just a single photograph, has gone viral in China. Bloomberg reports that the app was released on Friday, and quickly reached the top of the free charts on the Chinese iOS App Store. And like the FaceApp aging app before it, the creators of Zao are now facing a backlash over a perceived threat to user privacy. Twitter user Allan Xia posted a neat demonstration of what the app is capable of yesterday with a 30 second clip of their face replacing Leonardo Dicaprio in famous moments from several of his films. According to Xia, the clips were generated in under eight seconds from just a single photograph, however Bloomberg notes that the app can also guide you through the process of taking a series of photographs -- where it will ask you to open and close your mouth and eyes -- to generate more realistic results.


Uh-Oh, 'Deepfake' Apps Are About To Go Mainstream

#artificialintelligence

Up until now, 'deepfake' technology has remained bubbling under the surface, just out of a mainstream audience's reach. A new app called ZAO, available on iTunes in China, threatens that. The app has shot up the Chinese charts in the few days since its release, effectively making deepfakes mainstream. The results are equal parts impressive and terrifying. Here's what you need to know.