Press "Enter" to skip to content

Zao, Popular Face-swapping App, Sparks Controversy due to Privacy Concerns

It is not common for face-swapping apps — or, any app that collects user-generated personal content — to have confusing Privacy Policy documents. This time, however, Zao has started a bigger privacy issue than it could handle. Zao is an AI-powered face-swapping app that allows users to place themselves in scenes from movies and TV series content. As it has been learned by publications and security researchers, Zao also has raised a few privacy-related issues. The problems started at a point when Zao became so viral among users.

As said earlier, Zao was allowing users to put their faces inside movie and TV series scenes. The problem was that an earlier version of Zao’s privacy policy had outlined a serious privacy issue. It had said that the content that was created with Zao’s AI-powered algorithm would practically become the property of the app owner and not the user. To quote verbatim, “free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable and relicense-able” was given to Changsha Shenduronghe Network Technology, the developer behind Zao and Momo.

Once the same was published by Bloomberg, people started panicking and the developers said that they will be fixing the issue. They added that the user-generated content would be used for a limited set of purposes and that any post that is deleted by the user would also be removed from Zao servers. By the time this did happen, however, customer ratings were really down and the Chinese government was requested to take action against this violation of ‘laws and standards.’

Now that the company has removed the problematic clause from privacy and ensured other methods to bring some privacy-friendliness, the Chinese government may not have much to investigate and prove. That having said, the issue with Zao is another reminder for why people should read the Privacy Policy page before using the likes of deepfake-AI apps.

Comments are closed.