Experts Raise Security Concerns About FaceApp

The Russian app Faceapp is one of the most downloaded across the globe. Millions of people have downloaded the app from Google Play and it is the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries. Even celebrities, including Drake, the Jonas Brothers and Kevin Hart, have jumped on the trend.

Faceapp was created in 2017 by developers at Wireless Lab in St. Petersburg, Russia. The FaceApp photo filter uses AI to digitally age your face to look double or triple your current age. Using the app, you can also swap genders, look younger, or try out a beard. Experts warn that the app poses security concerns that may give Russian developers access to your personal information and identity.

What many people do not know is that they have been giving FaceApp the power to use their pictures, and names, for any purpose it wishes for as long as it desires. FaceApp includes in its Terms and Conditions that it has the right to modify, reproduce, and publish any of the images you process through its platform. It can also use your real name, your username, or “any likeness provided” in any format without notifying you.

It can also retain that material as long as it wants. Even though the company says “most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date,” there is no guarantee that your images will be deleted. This permission persists even after you delete the app.

It is difficult for users to rescind this permission after it has been granted. FaceApp says users can request to have their data deleted, but there doesn’t appear to be an easy process to do this. A release from the company states, “We accept requests from users for removing all their data from our servers. Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority. For the fastest processing, we recommend sending the requests from the FaceApp mobile app using “Settings->Support->Report a bug” with the word “privacy” in the subject line. We are working on the better UI for that.”