A new Chinese mobile application of hyper-realistic video fakes, which puts his face in the place of movie stars, is hugely successful, but provokes an uproar because of potential privacy breaches.
Available for download since Friday, Zao is based on the technology called "deepfake" (or "intelligent face switching"), which also causes concern elsewhere in the world because of a risk of malicious use.
Users first provide a series of "selfies" with different facial expressions. The application will then flatten with a very real realism their face on that of people present in movies, series or TV shows.
Deepfake videos are proliferating around the world, made more and more realistic by advances in artificial intelligence tools. This technology opens the door to actions of manipulation of a formidable efficiency, especially during electoral campaigns.
"We understand the fears of privacy. We have received feedback from users and will solve problems that we did not consider, which will take some time, "said Zao in a statement.
The controversy did not diminish Zao's popularity. It was still Monday afternoon the most downloaded free application in China, according to the firm App Annie.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in June that it would be "sensible" for his social network to have a specific "deepfake" video policy.
Zao is owned by the popular Nasdaq-listed Chinese dating application Momo.