Alibaba, Tencent, Others sued by Chinese regulators over Deepfake Tech

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Chinese regulators recently convened 11 local technology companies, including Alibaba Group, Tencent and ByteDance, to discuss the use of “deepfake” technology on their content platforms, tightening control over the sector.

The Chinese cyberspace administrator said in a statement Thursday that he and the Ministry of Public Security had met with the companies to discuss “security assessments” and potential problems with deep counterfeiting and audio social applications. Kuaishou Technology and Xiaomi also attended the meeting, it said.

Not all companies responded immediately to requests for comment.

Deep forgeries use artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic but fake videos or audio recordings where a person seems to be saying or doing something they have not done.

In recent months, China has stepped up scrutiny of its Internet giants, citing concerns about monopoly behavior and potential violations of consumer rights.

Regulators also told companies to “carry out security assessments themselves” and submit reports to the government when they plan to add new features or new information services that “have the ability to mobilize society,” the statement said.

In China, there has been a jump in copies of the audio application Club house since the US chat service was blocked in the country in early February.

The clubhouse was briefly accessible in China, attracting many users involved in discussions on sensitive topics such as the Xinjiang detention camps and Hong Kong’s independence before it was closed by the authorities.

TikTok owner ByteDance is one of the many companies works on Clubhouse-like applications for the Chinese market, Reuters reported earlier this month.

Other new offerings include Kuaishou Feichuan’s invitation-based app and Xiaomi’s conversion of Mi Talk into an invitation-only audio service.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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