Snap acquires AI Factory to support deepfake ambitions

Anne Freier

In App Business. January 9, 2020

Snap has acquired AI Factory, the company that helped create the app’s video recognition technology, according to Variety.

Although unconfirmed, Snap reportedly paid around $166 million for the AI start-up.

AI Factory has been launched by the ex-founder of facial recognition start-up Looksery, Victor Shaburov. Looksery went on to be sold to Snap in 2015.

The technology is part of Snapchat’s Cameos feature which allows users to add selfies to their short-form videos.

In other words, it’s a deepfake feature that replaces a person’s face with another’s.

The acquisition follows a recent move by TikTok owner Bytedance to incorporate deepfake features into its Chinese version of the popular video app.

It signals a shift toward more immersive technological features being rolled out to keep app users engaged as the competition for users is becoming fiercer.