Given the current climate of suspicion around Chinese technology companies, stories about those firms that include the word ‘deepfake’ are bound to get attention. Witness this report from TechCrunch: “TikTok parent company ByteDance has built technology to let you insert your face into videos starring someone else… Code in both TikTok and its Chinese sister app Douyin asks users to take a multi-angle biometric scan of their face, then choose from a selection of videos they want to add their face to and share… You’ll then be able to pick from videos ByteDance claims to have the rights to use, and it will replace with your own the face of whomever is in the clip. You can then share or download the deepfake video, though it will include an overlayed watermark the company claims will help distinguish the content as not being real”.
TikTok has denied that this is a current or planned feature for its app, suggesting that it will be restricted to Douyin in China. From a music-industry perspective, though, there is clearly something interesting in this feature, if Bytedance secured the rights to use music videos for it.