Chinese deepfake app surges in popularity, raises privacy concerns

It's almost too easy.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
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Oscar Gonzalez
Zao app

The Zao app makes deepfakes easy and believable. 


Chinese iPhone users are flocking to a new app called Zao to make their own deepfakes. Users can implant themselves into different movies and it's almost too easy to look this authentic. 

Zao went to the top of free apps in the China iOS App Store when it released on Friday according to a report from Bloomberg on Sunday. Developed by Momo, the app lets users take a selfie and then put themselves into scenes from movies and TV shows such as Titanic and Game of Thrones. 

Although app users made Zao surge in popularity, some are now questioning the user agreement they had to approve when using the app. Originally, the terms said the developer had the global rights to anything users made. The agreement has since been updated to reflect that Momo will seek permission from users to use any content made and will remove said content from its servers if the user deletes it. 

In July, many in the US downloaded FaceApp when users began sharing aged pictures of themselves when #AgeChallenge went viral. There was also a privacy concern regarding what happens with the images, which the developers said are deleted after 48 hours.