Is FaceApp, a danger to your privacy?

If you were on the internet for a couple of days, you must have definitely come across posts with images from Faceapp. What really is Faceapp? Some of you might not exactly know what it is. Faceapp is a mobile application that was developed by the Russian company, Wireless Lab. It had been unveiled around two years back, in 2017. Both the android and iOS users were able to download this app through the Google Play Store and Apple’s App store since then. It was certainly an amazing application. The basic concept behind this application was automatically generating highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs. This application has the ability to transform a face to make it smile, look younger, look older, or even change its gender.

Why is FaceApp going viral all of a sudden?

If it’s more than two years old, why is it going viral all of a sudden? Has it come up with something new? Not really! The reason behind this sudden popularity of Faceapp is the #faceappchallenge posts that have taken over social media. It is reported that a great number of celebrities have taken up this challenge. What they have done is, they have shared a post with a picture of themselves aged, created using the FaceApp filters. This is how this whole journey of Faceapp going viral has started. The latest reports reveal that it had become one of the most downloaded apps for both iOS and Android during the past few days.

It’s clear that millions of people have embraced Faceapp, yet there’s another issue coming up now. Many tech enthusiasts have started to discuss the privacy issues of Faceapp.

What are the reasons for FaceApp’s privacy issues?

According to the available information, FaceApp should most probably improve its face-changing algorithms by learning from the photos people submit. Of course with the enhancements in technology, this process can be done within the device itself. But still, FaceApp may want to stick to using its own computers to train its AI. If so, they might use these submitted photos in their servers for training purposes.

So what about Faceapp’s privacy concerns? It is said that they get the images that are submitted by users. Privacy Policy of FaceApp states that it also collects location information and information about users’ browsing history. And even though it states that “we will not rent or sell your information to third parties outside FaceApp,” it explicitly mentions that it shares information with “third-party advertising partners,” in order to deliver targeted ads. 

Should we really pay attention to these privacy issues?

A whole world questions about Faceapp’s privacy. Yet, Yaroslav Goncharov, the CEO of Faceapp has not yet stated anything regarding these privacy issues. However, today we are living in a world where our smart devices track everything and anything we do. We ourselves do not have an idea about who tracks us via these devices. People very freely share millions of photos through social media platforms. In an environment as such, one might question what the problem is, in submitting a picture through FaceApp. But what matters is, not only the pictures that you submit for the app but the other information that it accesses through your mobile device. It’s still in a questionable state whether Faceapp is indeed a trustworthy mobile application.

Whatever it is, let us be mindful of what information we give access to when using this kind of mobile applications. That way we can defend ourselves from future inconveniences.

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