Wanna look old? The viral FaceApp has some privacy concerns you need to know

You’ve probably seen your friends sharing pictures of themselves looking like 50 years older and this appears to be a continuation of the 10-year challenge. The viral face transformation software is called FaceApp and interestingly has gained popularity recently despite being released in 2017. Before you upload a picture of yourself, be warned that the app has some privacy concerns that you need to know.

The FaceApp is developed by a Russia company and it uses Artificial Intelligence to make yourself look younger or older. Admittedly, this sounds pretty cool but several security researchers have discovered that your photos are actually sent to a cloud for AI processing instead of being processed locally on your device.

FaceApp does not clearly inform its users that their photos are being uploaded and it doesn’t mention what do they do with it. Someone had claimed that the app may upload other photos from your photo library without your permission but eventually, the same person had retracted his statement and admitted that he was wrong.

When 9to5Mac reached out to FaceApp for clarification, the app developers shared that the photos are stored in the cloud for performance and traffic purposes. This is to ensure that a user doesn’t upload the same photo repeatedly for every edit operation. They added that most images are deleted from their servers after 48 hours from the upload date.

They also clarified that the app will only upload photos that you choose and they will never transfer any other images from your device. Although FaceApp R&D team is based in Russia, they mentioned that user data are not transferred to Russia. They also say that 99% of users are currently using the app without logging in, so they don’t have access to any personal data that could identify a person.

According to its terms of service, users agree to allow FaceApp the right to use your photos, your name and your likeness without compensation to you. By using their service, you also agree that your photos may be used for commercial purposes.

In the end, the fact remains that your photos are being uploaded somewhere if you’re using the app. Although there’s no real threat of your entire photo gallery being uploaded without permission, it is important that you’re aware what’s going on behind the scenes and what they could do to your photos.

What do you think of FaceApp? Are you comfortable with the way it works? Let us know in the comments below.


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Alexander Wong