Snapchat's deepfake feature 'Cameo' launches in New Zealand

Snapchat's new 'deepfakes' feature, called Cameo, has made its New Zealand debut.

It allows users to insert their own faces into short videos, complete with animated facial expressions.

"Cameos make you the star of your own short, looping videos that you can send to friends in Chat," a spokesperson for Snap, the company behind Snapchat, said.

"Whether you're feeling excited, exhausted, or just want to say hi, you can find the perfect Cameo for the moment. You can even customise the captions for certain Cameos to make them your own."

The feature has been compared to the controversial 'deepfake' technology, which allows people to realistically put faces on another's body. 

The term was coined in 2017 by an account on web forum Reddit, which posted pornographic videos with the faces replaced by celebrities such as Star Wars actresses Daisy Ridley and Natalie Portman, and Avengers star Scarlett Johansson.

There have also been concerns the technology could be used to fake videos of world leaders, making them convincingly appear to say things they never would in real life. 

There's no chance of that happening with Snapchat's Cameos, as the animations are relatively crude and limited to the 150 or so clips offered in the app. 

The Cameo feature can be found in the app's Chat function, next to the stickers. You have to take a selfie first, so it has something to work with.

"If a friend has also set theirs up, you can even co-star in two-person Cameos together," Snapchat said.

Snapchat claims to have 210 million users worldwide, sending 3.5 billion 'snaps' every day.