Deepfake Mayhem Continues As Chinese App ‘Zao’ Steps Into the Spotlight

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After FaceApp, a new Chinese app is going viral among users. Named ‘Zao’, the app leverages deepfake technology offering face swapping. While the app is apparently fun to use, it also raises serious security concerns.

Zao App – Another Deepfake App

Reportedly, a new Chinese app ‘Zao’ has become the latest craze among the users. Leveraging the deepfake AI, Zao allows the users to swiftly and smoothly swap their faces in any video.

Zao primarily works over users’ selfies. With a single picture, it can swap the intended face in any video with that of the user. Then, using deepfake AI, the now edited video shows the user’s face mimicking the original movements of the character, such as the actual facial expressions and eye blinking.

A user has shared a demonstration of this app online about how it works.

The developers launched the app in China, and, since then, it has gone viral. Within a few days, the app succeeded in gathering a large chunk of users.

However, apart from the entertaining aspect of the application, the product has also triggered various concerns among the netizens. Although, the app presently seems in its infancy as it works on some preselected video clips. Nonetheless, the app’s privacy policy typically benefiting the developers has raised questions.

Gladly, it seems the enrage had compelled the developers to revise their policy. According to the user Allan Xia, the controversial phrase is no more there.

Also, the official Twitter account of Zao app hints a possible revision to the privacy agreement.

Yet, even after the change in the app’s privacy, the concerns aren’t over. There still remains one more thing that you should be concerned about, Deepfake driving the app.

Why You Should Worry About Deepfake

Deepfake isn’t a new technology. It has been around for at least a couple of years. The term is specifically a hybrid of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’ – depicting the artificial intelligence behind it. Even after its inception for some time, it gained popularity only recently (even among the general public) owing to various apps using it such as FaceApp.

Although, these apps apparently provide entertainment to the users. However, the capability of the technology behind these apps to swap faces in any media, artificially create videos from pictures, and change the facial look almost seamlessly, is alarming.

With such seamless editing, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the genuine and forged media. Consequently, it bears numerous cons, particularly when a mad technologist exploits it. For instance,

  • Fake news: While, the issue of dissemination of fake news due to Photoshopped images awaits an appropriate solution, the technology of creating forged videos will further fuel the fire. It becomes way easier to swap faces of political figures in videos to spread fake news.
  • False allegations – With face swapping, it won’t be difficult to accuse anyone of any filthy act, such as harassment, to defame the victim. Considering the media hype that most political scandals gain, people may easily abuse the technology to humiliate anyone at any critical time.
  • Threat to men/women – While editing pictures into nudes was already a problem for some, deepfake further makes them vulnerable to revenge porn.

Although, people are working towards creating software for identifying fake content, such efforts are of  little when the only aim of a malefactor is to disseminate fake content. By the time someone validates an image or a video, the internet would be flooded with the fake version.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah has been a passionate blogger for several years with a particular interest towards science and technology. She is crazy to know everything about the latest tech developments. Knowing and writing about cybersecurity, hacking, and spying has always enchanted her. When she is not writing, what else can be a better pastime than web surfing and staying updated about the tech world! Reach out to me at: [email protected]
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Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah has been a passionate blogger for several years with a particular interest towards science and technology. She is crazy to know everything about the latest tech developments. Knowing and writing about cybersecurity, hacking, and spying has always enchanted her. When she is not writing, what else can be a better pastime than web surfing and staying updated about the tech world! Reach out to me at: [email protected]

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