Unease over China’s new face-swapping app


One of the latest apps out of China that enables users to switch their faces with celebrities, has already been downloaded millions of times over the weekend, although it has been criticized over privacy concerns.

For the most part, the app was well received, but it faced censure from a number of users who noted that some artificial intelligence tech can create worries in regards to identity verification.

The controversial app, Zao, was launched on China’s iOS App Store on Friday and instantly became a big hit. The app makers said on Weibo – a Chinese social media site – that their servers came close to crashing due to the unanticipated volume of traffic.

App Annie – the mobile analytics and market data platform that monitors app downloads worldwide – shows that on the 1st of September, Zao was the most downloaded free app in China’s iOS App Store.

To use Zao you have to sign up with your phone number, and then once you upload photos of your face, you can select from a variety of celebrity videos where you can superimpose your face.

21 year old student from Shanghai, Gu Shi, downloaded the app after coming across clips that were posted by her friends on WeChat.

“I’ve never tried using Japanese makeup and hairstyles because it’s too complicated to do all by myself,” said Shi. “This app gave me a chance to try a totally different style from my normal life.”

Privacy apprehension

While Zao went viral, numerous users commented on the app’s privacy policy. One segment of the user agreement states that the company will own the intellectual property rights of uploaded images, and they have permission to use the images for marketing purposes.

“We thoroughly understand the anxiety people have towards privacy concerns,” the company stated on Weibo. “We have received the questions you have sent us. We will correct the areas we have not considered and require some time.”

About Daniel Scheepers 239 Articles
I've always possessed a natural proclivity towards the art of writing. A strong passion and curiosity for life experience has given me diverse insight into varying sectors of the world. Opportunities to direct my talents are always welcome. Searching the web for interesting and factual news offers me a previously unimagined sense of fulfillment. When I have the chance, I'll be looking to get a Bachelor Degree of Communication.

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