Snapchat Cameos begins to make Deepfakes social

Snapchat may have had the monopoly on the Stories market before Facebook proceeded to make its core selling point ubiquitous across all of its mobile apps and major platforms, but now the former company is preparing to fire back with a new feature dubbed Cameos, which will allow users to superimpose their faces atop other figures found either in videos or in GIFs.

The mechanic, designed to empower users to add their own facial expressions to reaction videos or superimpose their features over another person’s in a GIF might sound like innocent fun, though the feature uses several of the same principles behind deepfakes – the term for superimposing one person’s visage over another’s thanks to machine learning techniques – to produce results.

Cameos, which is now available in beta capacity for some French users, allows users to rapidly take a selfie of themselves, select a GIF or video, and insert their image. Though the results are hardly as robust as the most believable deepfakes around, the feature does allow users to insert themselves into media of their own choice with at least passable results when used on human subjects. Notably, the feature also allows users to insert their own image over animals or other 2D representations of people.

Fears might well mount that as the feature is refined, SnapChat may unwittingly create an easy avenue for users to craft deepfakes and manipulate images across social media channels. Time might only tell, and SnapChat will apparently launch ‘SnapchaCameos’ – as the full and final version of the feature will allegedly be called – on December 18th this year.

What are your thoughts? Could the release of Cameos chart the emergence of deepfaking into social networks? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.