FaceApp Goes Viral With Old-Age Filter, But Is The Russian Aging App A Danger To Your Privacy?

There are millions of people across the globe, including India, using their current pictures to see how they will look when they are old. This new social media rage is know as FaceApp Challenge!

FaceApp Old Age Filter Viral Social Media Terms And Condition Privacy Concerns
FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to modify users' photos, changing their hair colour, adding wrinkles. (Image: Twitter/ Instagram)
By: Sahil Sinha
Updated: 18 Jul 2019 06:55 PM
New Delhi: Social media timelines these days have been flooded by picture of how your friends, relative and acquaintances will look 40 years from now. There are millions of people across the globe, including India, using their current pictures to see how they will look when they are old. This new social media rage is know as FaceApp Challenge! The Russia-based AI mobile application FaceApp, launched in 2017, has once again went viral with its new 'Old Age' filter. With over 100k downloads, the App has taken several social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instragram with storm. Despite being loved by many, the mobile application has come under scanner as several experts and social media analysts have raised serious privacy issues. Several reports suggest that the AI-based mobile application breaches privacy norms and is also transferring other images from your phone to its servers.

The company, however, has also issued a statement regarding these concerns to TechCrunch attempting to clarify privacy fears claimed by many. FaceApp said that it only do photo processing in the could for a better and realistic result and has also denied transferring of other images from users' mobile devices. FaceApp uses artificial intelligence to modify users' photos, changing their hair colour, adding wrinkles or subtracting years from their faces.


Here's are some major privacy threats to keep in mind before downloading FaceApp application on your mobile devices:

1. The primary concern while downloading FaceApp seems to be a clause in the terms and conditions. The clause clearly states that users give FaceApp "a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license" to use photos they upload. This means that users are granting FaceApp the license to use their photos anywhere, without any fees and even for commercial purposes.

2. There are also concerns that FaceApp not only uploads the photo on which you are applying age-filter into its servers, but also all other photos from your phone. However, this an unconfirmed claim as there is not any valid evidence confirming the same.

3. However, it is technically verified and even accepted by the company that photos on which users apply age-filters are immediately uploaded on cloud server of Wireless Lab - the company which made FaceApp.

4. Some rumors also claim that FaceApp is sending all data to its servers in Russia. However, the company said that though its R&D team is in Russia, but it doesn't store user data in Russia. In order to verify its claim, US Senator Chuck Schumer has said that FBI should investigate if FaceApp has stored data of US users in Russia.

5. Another significant privacy breach is that photos of its users can be utilised to teach its smart algorithms how people would look when they get old and then built solutions for surveillance and user monitoring.

This important paragraph from FaceApp 'Terms & Conditions' sheet is a MUST READ:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”

Note: It clearly means that even if you use the app just once to create an edited image, you give legal right to the company to use your image for promotional purposes anywhere in the world (no question asked). What is worse is the fact that you might not be even know about it.

Regardless of all the above highlighted security threats, FaceApp is on the roll and is viral and how! Even celebrities across the globe are joining this viral trend and a data by monitoring firm AppAnnie’s claims that FaceApp has reached the number one app position in 121 countries on iOS App Store. Celebrities including Nick Jonas, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and many others have also posted their FaceApp-edited pictures on social media platforms under the hashtag FaceAppChallenge.

The FaceApp is an AI photo editor that enables users to edit their own or someone else’s image make it look older or even younger. Here's a look at some of hilarious images shared by the nitizens and celebrities and enjoy the good laughs:



















However, this is not for the first time when FaceApp is in the news for wrong reasons. Some time back, the company came up with an ethnicity filter that allowed people to change their photos to look like person from some other country or race. FaceApp apologised after a massive backlash and removed the filter after controversy.

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