FaceApp, a Russia-based mobile app that applies filters to photos, is going on a viral trend this week. It is a photo-morphing app that uses artificial intelligence and neural face transformations to make alterations to faces on photos. The app was first introduced back in 2017, which went viral then, is catching on again due to a filter that can make users look older or younger. At the same time, users have been giving FaceApp the rights to use their pictures and names, and many are now surprised to learn that the app’s creators are harvesting metadata from their photos.
Concerns have been placed around a questionable clause in the app, which can access, store, and use images from your camera roll, without any given permission.
FaceApp is currently one of the top downloaded apps on both iOS and Android, as #faceappchallenge posts have taken over social media by storm.
However, with the surge in popularity, some experts have raised questions about how secure the user data is and what the app does with user’s photos.
A deep dive into the terms and conditions of the app explains that the user gives FaceApp access to use, modify, adapt and publish any images that they offer up in exchange for the use of its AI.
Theoretically, FaceApp could process these photos on the device itself, but Yaroslav Goncharov, the ex-Yandex exec and CEO of the Russian company that developed the app, previously told The Verge that photos are uploaded and stored on the company’s servers to save bandwidth if several filters are applied, and will be deleted not long after.
In an official statement to TechCrunch, FaceApp said it would accept requests from users to remove their data from its servers.