If your social media news feed is full of older, younger, and gender-switched photos of your friends, calm down, it’s just FaceApp. It is the most popular and trending application these days which acts as a free photo editor app that can change your look entirely merely with a one-click of a button. FaceApp lets you create realistic photos of you, your family members, and friends by increasing their smile, aging, de-aging them, or changing the gender. This is a freeware application, but some of its features require payment so that you are not allowed to do everything with FaceApp without paying extra.
The reason for FaceApp to become the most trending app is the behavior of famous celebrities. The celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Mindy Kaling, Carrie Underwood, and the Jonas Brothers have been posting their aged faces on social media using the #faceappchallenge tag. And then the regular folks started to follow them too. However, people started posting the risky side of using this application mentioning the security and privacy concerns about the app’s data collection. So now, there is a doubt on people’s minds whether FaceApp is risky or safe to use. Here is our attempt to write you down all about FaceApp and its security issues. Read the article and solve your problems.
What does FaceApp Collect?
This is the most important point! As soon as the app went viral, people started worrying about the privacy of their data. So the US Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FBI support to investigate the app. The user must grant permission for the app to access to photos of your phone, that is what people are worried about. The two facts that worry people are;
- What is the meaning of the app has access to all the photos of your phone? If developers have that access, can they ask the app to upload all your photos to their servers or transfer them to other organizations?
- And the fact that the FaceApp was built by the Wireless Lab in St Petersburg, Russia amplifies the worry.
Does FaceApp Upload My Photos?
The found evidence tells that the app is behaving responsibly and is not uploading all your photos on the phone. From the found results of analytics, developers have confirmed that the FaceApp only uploads the photos that the user chooses to apply the filters to. The reason for it to upload the selected photo is, FaceApp does photo processing on the cloud, unlike the Instagram filters. All that the app does is, upload the photo and then download the completely processed stuff.
One reason to do so is, it can use the whole processing power of the entire server to process the image. And the other reason is to improve their product. They can use all the pictures people upload to train the FaceApp’s machine learning models accurately, which assists to create more realistic photos. The developers of the app have revealed that they only keep uploading photos for a couple of days. Not that they want your photos for their use, but to avoid processing the same image twice, in case if two people upload the same image (like a photo of a celebrity) to see his/ her old picture. It is only for their good so that they won’t have to do the hard work of processing twice on the same image.
Should I be Worried about what FaceApp’s Terms and Conditions say?
No, you don’t have to worry about that at all. The main reason for FaceApp to go viral is the harshness of presenting the app’s terms and conditions. The important fact to bear in mind is that they are almost the same as other social media apps. The only difference is that there is no easy way to delete your data from the app, unlike Facebook or Google. At the moment, you must send a written request as an email, though the developers have said that they are going to make it easier.
Should I be worried because the Company is Russian?
Now, this is the controversial bit. The reason for FaceApp to be attracted by the politicians more than other apps is perhaps the fact the Wireless Lab is based in Russia. Of course, Russia had a notorious recent history regarding technology usage in international affairs. But there is no evidence to prove that the Russain government or military is acquiring data from the FaceApp or the company. And the company has stated that they have stored data on Google and Amazon’s cloud servers which are outside of Russia.
So… Should I be Worried about FaceApp?
Eventually, FaceApp makes the same privacy trade-offs and considerations just like any other app. Should we worry when downloading Instagram, whether the US government might want to have a jerk through our photos on the phone? No, perhaps we might suppose there are more safeguards regarding that as America is a functional democracy. If you are wondering whether the FaceApp is safe to use or not, just like all the other apps, it depends on the risks that you are willing to take. Probably, you are worried about FaceApp’s security and privacy because it went viral. But not only the ones that go viral, you should also check the privacy and security settings on every app you download on your smartphone.