The company's tech is used in Snapchat's new Cameos feature, which lets you insert selfies into a scene to send as a looping video, Variety reports.
Corinne ReichertSenior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
Snap has purchased AI Factory, an image and video recognition startup, according to Variety on Friday. Snapchat reportedly used AI Factory's technology to launch its new Cameos feature, which allows users to insert selfies into a scene to send as a looping video and raises concerns about the possibility of creating deepfakes.
Deepfakes, video forgeries that make people appear to be doing or saying things they didn't, are the moving-picture equivalent of bogus images created with programs like Photoshop. Deepfake software has made manipulated videos accessible and increasingly harder to detect as fake.
Snapchat's Cameos feature -- located inside the chat area below Bitmoji and above emoji selections -- lets you take a selfie and choose a gender. Snapchat then stores the selfie and manipulates your features to make different facial expressions like smiling, blowing kisses and opening your mouth.
Your manipulated selfie is then inserted on top of things like puppies and bunnies, but also onto other people -- like someone in a bathtub, at a hair salon, in a classroom, on a movie set, driving a car, sitting on an airplane and kissing the camera while wearing a skintight dress.
You can clear your Cameos selfie in Snapchat's settings.
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A Ukrainian tech publication reported Snap's acquisition of AI Factory to be worth $166 million, Variety said. Snap confirmed the acquisition in an email to CNET Friday afternoon, but did not reveal the terms.