Chinese app ZAO scored millions of download but raised privacy concern

Chinese app ZAO scored millions of download but raised privacy concern


On last weekend, a new Chinese app namely ZAO get the attention of people with scoring millions of downloads but quickly drew the much of the criticism over privacy issue. The feature of the ZAO app let users swap the faces of sports stars, celebrities or anyone else in a video clip with the faces of their own.

The app’s sudden popularity gain and swiftly draw of criticism from some users once again put a question mark about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that is leading to people now worrying more about verification of identity.

ZAO went viral immediately after uploading to iOS App Store in China on Friday, and its servers came near to crash due to high traffic flow over them, as said the app maker in their post on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese platform.

As of September 1, ZAO remained the most downloaded free app in China’s iOS App Store on September 1, revealed App Annie, a firm that keep an eye on app downloads all over the world.

In order to join  ZAO, users signed-up with their phone numbers and also uploaded their face images using photos taken with their smartphones, and then they were able to choose from variety of videos of celebrities, sports stars or of their own to superimpose their faces and share those videos with their friends.

Most of the faces available for superimposition were of Chinese celebrities but many other famous faces were also available on the app including Marilyn Monroe and Leonardo DiCaprio.

After the app went viral, some users came up complaining that the app’s privacy policy could be dangerous for them because as a section of the user agreement users surrender rights of their facial images to ZAO to be used for marketing purposes.

On its statement on Weibo, ZAO said that it would address the issues and concerns people are worrying about.

Momo Inc, an NYSE listed company since 2014, was the publisher of ZAO.