AI Face-changing Technology: The Game Between Technological Innovation and Internet Governance


AI face-changing technology is a technique that uses artificial intelligence to transform facial images. Initially, AI face-changing technology mainly relied on detection and matching based on facial key points, but as the technology developed, increasingly complex neural network models were used to learn and reconstruct facial features, making the resulting images more lifelike and accurate.

Currently, AI face-changing is a mature technology and is widely used in various fields. It can combine the facial features of one person with the facial image of another person to create a new image as if grafting one person’s face onto another. This technology has made significant progress in the field of image processing and computer vision, and is widely used in entertainment, creative arts, film and television production, education, and other fields.

Image 1:AI face-changing technology

However, even though there are many innovations and fun that AI face-changing technology brings, it also poses some challenges and problems. For example, the production of fake videos may lead to cybersecurity issues, such as cyber fraud and information leakage, and it may lead to an increase in the spread of false information on social media, affecting social opinion and public safety.

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to lead an in-depth understanding of a series of Internet issues that the development of AI face-changing technology may trigger, and to explore the balanced relationship between technological development and cyber-environmental governance issues.

What does AI Face-changing Technology bring to us?

While Photoshop technology can achieve face-swapping effects by manipulating images and adjusting their positions, it often necessitates intricate adjustments by professionals. Improper handling can result in stiff facial articulation and a less authentic appearance. Conversely, AI-driven face-changing technology offers rapid and seamless integration of faces into images or videos. Moreover, AI can synthesize facial expressions and mouth movements, enhancing the authenticity of the result with a stronger “fake to real” effect.

Image 2: Mona Lisa was AI face-changed

AI face-changing technology has a very wide range of applications.

Remember the Faceu beauty app that was so popular a few years ago? Users can choose different AI models and apply them to their faces by using AI face-changing technology. People can even try to gender-swap themselves in the app or synthesize the faces of their future children, which is very interesting. 

Image 3: Faceu app homepage

The development of the medical beauty program, which has become a big hit in recent years, also cannot be separated from the help of AI face-swapping technology. Customers can preview the effect of medical beauty surgery through the AI face swap, to efficiently Understand their eligibility for relevant medical aesthetic procedures, eliminate the time and physical waiting, and also avoid the situation where they are dissatisfied after the surgery, but nothing can be done.

In the entertainment field, people can use this technology to create a different version of themselves on camera, such as swapping facial features with celebrities to create interesting videos and photos. In the field of movie and TV series production, AI face-changing technology can be used to replace actors’ faces, solve the problem of actors’ schedule conflicts, or realize some complex changes in special effects production. In the field of art, artists can use this technology to create unique visual works and expand the possibilities of artistic expression. In the field of education, AI face-changing technology can produce more vivid and interesting teaching materials, such as synthesizing the faces of historical figures into modern videos to help students better understand history. To avoid unnecessary trouble caused by being recognized, some online teachers can conduct online lectures by changing their faces so that students can focus more on the knowledge, and also effectively protect the teacher’s privacy. AI face-changing technology can also be used in the field of security and surveillance, through the recognition and tracking of facial information, to improve the efficiency of public security surveillance.

Cybersecurity Issues Facing AI Face-Changing Technology:

Despite there are many advances in AI face-swapping technology, several challenges and issues arise. One of the most prominent issues is cybersecurity. The production of fake videos can lead to problems such as online fraud and information leakage, and it can trigger the spread of false information on social media, affecting public opinion and public safety. I will use a case of the “Russian beauty scam” in China to illustrate the cybersecurity issues facing the development of face-changing technology.

Case study

Recently, the AI face-changing technology of an AI video-generating company called Heygen has become embroiled in a transnational portrait infringement storm. The company’s illegal access and misuse of users’ images and voice data has sparked widespread public concern and questions about data security, ethics, and legal liability.

On the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu, users used Heygen’s AI face-changing technology to steal the likeness and voice of Olga Loiek, a famous Ukrainian internet celebrity, without authorization and created a series of fake “Russian beauty” blogger accounts. The content included controversial content such as “Russian girls’ comments on China”, creating a fake persona of an exotic beauty living in China. 

Due to the scarcity of such personas on Chinese social media platforms, these accounts quickly caught the attention of viewers and attracted many followers.

Image 4: Ukrainian Internet celebrity Olga Loiek Accused the case

Internet fraud

These fake accounts used the “deep bond of foreign friends with China” as bait, seized the psychology of Chinese people’s “generosity and hospitality” to foreign friends, and used AI face-changing technology to successfully build influential IP personas. While attracting many fans on the platform, the company promoted various Russian products, targeting Chinese middle-aged and elderly people who have no understanding of AI technology, inducing fans to consume, causing fans to suffer economic losses, violating the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and constituting a serious fraud.

The use of AI face-changing technology to create a persona and induce consumption through consumers’ trust in the platform and account persona, thereby practicing online fraud, is one of the most serious problems facing the development of AI face-changing technology at present. Because AI face-changing technology can not only fake other people’s facial features, but also imitate the user’s voice and so on, it makes it difficult for users to distinguish between the real and the fake in the virtual world, and it is easy to fall into the traps of fraudsters.

Information leakage

The potential for the loss of personal privacy online remains one of the most frequently raised concerns regarding the internet and digital media (Flew, 2021). This incident highlights the issues of information leakage and privacy security. Several Heygen users reported that they initially used the company’s AI face-swapping product due to curiosity, and expressed shock and anger when they realized that their images may have been illegally captured and used for unknown purposes. With the development of AI face-swapping technology, concerns about the risk of personal information being compromised have intensified, and the issue of data security has been pushed into the limelight once again with the development of AI technology.

Online harms

For Ukrainian Internet celebrity Olga Loiek, the experience was even more tragic: “My image and voice were stolen and turned into a tool to deceive my fans, causing irreversible damage to my reputation.” By illegally stealing Olga’s voice and image to commit fraud, these fake accounts also seriously violated Olga Loiek’s right to her image and reputation. When fans realized they had been scammed, they took to the Internet to verbally attack Olga while demanding financial compensation from her. Olga, who didn’t know anything of the scam, was overnight accused of being a fraud, but found it difficult to prove her innocence and was subjected to tremendous cyber-violence. At the same time, the scammed fans also posted relevant information on the Internet to create public pressure, resulting in an unstable social environment.

Spreading false information

These accounts also posted controversial content about Russia-China relations using the face-swapped Russian beauty persona account. Unknown viewers were encouraged to spread it, resulting in a large amount of false information being maliciously spread, causing damage to the socio-political and public opinion environment, and even affecting China-Russia relations. It also caused further damage to Olga’s reputation and had a serious impact on her civic and political identity.


In summary, the scandal of Heygen’s misuse of AI face-changing technology reveals deep-rooted problems in tech ethics, data security, and legal regulation. The technology itself is not good or bad, the key is how it is used. The task of Internet governance is now a collaborative project, that involves corporate, civil society, and government actors in various Internet governance arrangements (Sinpeng et al., 2021). The question of how to maintain a good balance between technological development and cybersecurity governance deserves our consideration.

Firstly, platforms should strengthen content regulation and verification. The governance of platforms is crucial; their decisions significantly impact public culture and the social and political lives of their users (Suzor & Nicolas, 2019). Strengthen technical review of user-uploaded videos and images. Improve the user reporting mechanism and take appropriate punitive measures against accounts that maliciously change faces and disseminate false information. Improve the efficiency of handling poor-quality content and reduce the spread of false content.

Secondly, for each new emerging video content manipulation technique, it is necessary to build and train the corresponding anti-counterfeiting network, and there is a lack of a generalized video anti-counterfeiting network. (Xu, 2023). Therefore, the government should formulate relevant laws and regulations to stipulate the legal use of AI face-changing technology and prevent it from being used for illegal purposes. It should also strengthen supervision of AI face-changing technology to ensure that its use complies with laws, regulations, and ethics. Regulators should strengthen penalties for spreading false information, regulate the use of technology and social behavior, and strengthen the fight against copyright infringement. In response to the problem of false information spreading across borders, the government can strengthen international cooperation to crack down on unscrupulous elements that use AI face-swapping technology to sow discord in international relations.

Thirdly, as a business, the Heygen case is particularly noteworthy. Companies can only use information with the informed consent of users if users have personally consented to the use of the information (Flew, 2021). While pursuing technological innovation, companies must adhere to the legal and ethical bottom line to ensure that technological development serves social justice and the public interest.

Finally, users should pay attention to the protection of personal privacy and information security and avoid uploading sensitive personal information or private photos to public online platforms to prevent others from misusing AI face-swapping technology for malicious purposes. When browsing social media or other online platforms, users should be careful to increase their awareness of fraud prevention and remain skeptical of videos and images that may have been processed by AI face-swapping. Actively report false information and malicious behavior to jointly maintain a clean environment in cyberspace and protect their legitimate rights and interests. Actively abide by the law, and resolutely eliminate the use of technology to maliciously spread rumors and slander others.


Every coin has two sides. The development of AI face-changing technology has brought both convenience and many cybersecurity problems to society. To truly realize justice and harmony in cyberspace and protect citizens’ legitimate rights and interests from infringement, all parties must make joint efforts to build an effective protective barrier, starting from the multidimensional aspects of system construction, technological innovation, rule of law guarantee, and public education. While promoting technological innovation, attention should also be paid to standardizing and regulating its potential problems to ensure that it serves society safely and legally.


Flew, T. (2021). Regulating platforms. Polity Press.

Suzor, N. P. (2019). Lawless : the secret rules that govern our digital lives. Cambridge University Press.

Sinpeng, A., Martin, F. R., Gelber, K., & Shields, K. (2021). Facebook: Regulating Hate Speech in the Asia Pacific. Department of Media and Communications, The University of Sydney.

Xu, H. (2023). Legal Exploration of AI Face-Changing Technology. Academic Journal of Management and Social Sciences2(3), 210-213.


Image 1:AI face-changing technology:

Image 2: Mona Lisa was AI face-changed:

Image 3: Faceu app homepage:

Image 4: Ukrainian internet celebrity Olga Loiek Accused the case:

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