Yang Mi, Athena Chu deepfake face-swap

Occurred: February 2019

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A video that splices Chinese actress Yang Mi with Athena Chu, an older Hong Kong actress who starred in a 25-year-old TV series The Legend of the Condor Heroes has set China's social media alight, and not in an altogether positive manner.

Chinese 'netizens' criticised its creator for disrespecting both actresses and of violating Yang's image rights, and worried about the broader effects of the technology on society.

The video creator, who went under the pseudonym Xiao, (which translates as 'Brother Face-Swapping'), apologised, claiming he had wanted to educate the public on the danger of deepfakes.

The video was removed from Weibo, China's Twitter equivalent. However, many copies continue to circulate online.

Operator: Anonymous/pseudonymous; Weibo
Developer: Anonymous/pseudonymous

Country: China

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts


Technology: Deepfake - video; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Privacy; Copyright; Ethics

Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023