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Face-Swap App Zao Apologizes for User ‘Confusion’ and Promises Data Protection

By Zhao Runhua / Sep 04, 2019 11:17 AM / Society & Culture

Photo: IC Photo

Photo: IC Photo

After public outcry, dating app Momo’s face-swapping video app Zao apologized on Tuesday for concerns it had caused regarding controversial user privacy terms and data safety.

Zao said in a statement on its official Weibo account that the app will not store any of the users’ facial information. Backed by machine-learning techniques, Zao allows users to upload their photos and overlay them onto the faces of characters in movies or TV shows.

Zao said the edited faces in the new clips will not be valid in real-world situations and cannot meet existing facial recognition technologies’ standards — therefore, Zao’s clips or technologies won’t be able to be used for online payment purposes, the statement said.

The company also said once a user decides to uninstall Zao or delete their account, the app will remove related information as regulations require, and will “ensure the safety of personal information and data in every possible way.”

The concerns started over the weekend when people noticed the user agreement said the app has the right to use any image or video created on the platform globally for free. The panic even had leading cashless payment platform Alipay clarify that Zao’s technology won’t threaten facial-recognition payments or other scenarios.

Zao later amended the user agreement under pressure.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it had talked to Momo to demand it to strictly perform inspection for privacy concerns users expressed.

Related: ‘Deepfake’ App That Puts Your Face in the Movies Sparks Privacy Concerns

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