China regulators hold talks with Alibaba, Tencent and nine others on 'deepfake tech'

Deepfake use AI to create hyper-realistic but fake videos or audios where a person appears to say or do something they did not

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing, China January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
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Chinese regulators recently summoned 11 domestic technology companies including Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance for talks on use of "deepfake" technologies on their content platforms, stepping up scrutiny of the sector.

China’s cyber space administrator said in a statement on Thursday that it and the public security ministry met with the companies to talk about "security assessments" and potential problems with deepfakes and audio social apps. Kuaishou Technology and Xiaomi also attended the meeting, it said.

All the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic but fake videos or audios where a person appears to say or do something they did not.

China has increased scrutiny of its internet giants in recent months, citing concerns over monopolistic behaviour and potential infringement of consumer rights.

Regulators also told the companies to "conduct security assessments on their own" and submit reports to the government when they plan to add new functions or new information services that "have the ability to mobilise society", the statement said.

There has been a surge in China in copycats of the audio app Clubhouse since the US-based chat service was blocked in the country in early February.

Clubhouse was briefly accessible in China. ByteDance is one of many companies working on Clubhouse-like apps for the Chinese market.

Other new offerings include Kuaishou's invitation-based Feichuan app and Xiaomi's reworking of Mi Talk app into an invitation-only audio service targeted at professionals

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