Source: Instagram via Jonas Brothers
It’s the selfie app that’s gone viral with everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Joanna Gaines uploading a photo to see how they will look like as a wrinkly senior, but just how safe is FaceApp?
Topping the list of most downloaded apps for both iOS and Android devices, FaceApp – developed by Russian company Wireless Labs in 2017- has been downloaded by approximately 100,000 million people in the Google Play store alone.
The app allows users to look older, appear younger, change their hairstyle and see how they look with a full face of makeup, but it calls into question serious privacy concerns.
According to USA Today, “some privacy and security experts have concerns that users granting the St. Petersburg, Russia-based FaceApp access to photos on their smartphones is a grand giveaway of privacy and personal information.”
By downloading FaceApp, you are agreeing to the company’s Terms of Service, which state users grant FaceApp “a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce … create derivative works from … 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.”
According to Slate’s interview with New York Law School professor Ari Waldman, “That basically means FaceApp can do whatever it wants with your photos. You retain copyrights and photos that you upload, but you grant them the opportunity to pretty much do anything they want with the photos that are stored on their servers.”
“It’s pretty broad, to say the least,” Waldman told Slate.
BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp:
Because millions of Americans have used it
It’s owned by a Russia-based company
And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data pic.twitter.com/cejLLwBQcr
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
The privacy concerns over FaceApp have also reached Washington D.C., with Senate Minority leader, Chuck Schumer, urging the FBI to investigate the Russian-developed app.
So what can you do if you downloaded FaceApp and now have privacy concerns?
According to The Washington Post, founder and chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov said that FaceApp’s research-and-development team is based in Russia but that no user data is transferred into the country, and “most images” are deleted from company servers within 48 hours.
Goncharov told The Washington Post that users who want to remove their data from FaceApp can make the request through the app by clicking “Settings,” then “Support,” then “Report a bug” with “privacy” in the subject line. “Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority,” a company statement read.