China’s regulators held talks with Alibaba, Tencent and nine others on ‘deepfake’ technology

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese regulators recently convened 11 national tech companies, including Alibaba Group, Tencent and ByteDance, to discuss the use of ‘deepfake’ technologies on their content platforms, intensifying scrutiny of the sector.

China’s cyberspace administrator said in a statement Thursday that he and the Ministry of Public Security met with the companies to discuss “security assessments” and potential problems with deepfakes and social audio applications. Kuaishou Technology and Xiaomi Corp also attended the meeting, he said.

All companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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

China has increased scrutiny of its internet giants in recent months, citing concerns about monopoly behavior and possible infringement of consumer rights.

Regulators also told 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 mobilize society,” the statement said.

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

Clubhouse was briefly accessible in China, attracting many users who participated in discussions on sensitive topics such as the Xinjiang detention camps and Hong Kong independence, before the authorities closed it.

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

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

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Tony Munroe; Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai and Pei Li in Hong Kong; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jane Wardell


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