Chinese Face Swapping App Zao Goes Viral on App Store, Privacy Concerns Loom Large

Zao is an deep fake app that lets you swap your own face for that of a celebrity in a video clip. As expected the app has garnered a high number of downloads and has made it to one of the top taped apps on App Store. However, the app’s privacy policy has raised some red flags.

Zao requires users to sign up with their phone numbers and then upload their pictures taken with the selfie camera. In the next step, users can choose between a wide selection of videos of celebrities and superimpose their face. The video can then be shared with friends. The app includes celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Marilyn Monroe.

The privacy concerns were raised once the app went viral.

One section of the user agreement stated that consumers who upload their images to ZAO agree to surrender the intellectual property rights to their face, and permit ZAO to use their images for marketing purposes.

Zao has responded to Reuters and says that it needs some time to address the concerns. The company said “We have received the questions you have sent us. We will correct the areas we have not considered and required some time.”

The app was uploaded on China’s iOS App Store on Friday and it immediately became viral. Apparently the overwhelming response crashed Zao’s servers. As of Sep1, Zao topped the list as the most-downloaded free app in Chinese iOS App Store. Last time, similar privacy concerns were raised about FaceApp, an app that used AI to show how you would look several years from now. The developer quickly confirmed that photos were uploaded for processing on clouds and were deleted after 48 hours. The bottom line, think twice before sharing your pictures or other details on any app.

[via Reuters]