The #FaceAppChallenge is the latest trend to hit social media, and with it comes privacy and security concerns.
FaceApp is a Russian-developed app that provides photo-editing features through filters. The most recent trend is for users to use the ageing filter to see what they may look like decades from now.
Many have been using the app and posting the results on social media.
When you take a trip to the Year 3000. pic.twitter.com/O9Dxpwj6ex
— Jonas Brothers (@jonasbrothers) July 16, 2019
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) July 16, 2019
However, as with any service that collects information, the conversation of digital privacy and security has also returned.
This comes from concerns that the app allegedly harvests a user’s metadata from their photos.
— Roy White III (@RDubThree) July 17, 2019
The apps user agreement gives the developer, Wireless Labs, control over everything you upload to the app forever. This means that any photo or info collected by the app can potentially be held for as long as the developer wants.
If you use #FaceApp you are giving them a license to use your photos, your name, your username, and your likeness for any purpose including commercial purposes (like on a billboard or internet ad) — see their Terms: https://t.co/e0sTgzowoN pic.twitter.com/XzYxRdXZ9q
— Elizabeth Potts Weinstein (@ElizabethPW) July 17, 2019
This doesn’t mean that all your private data is compromised as many apps do already collect personal information on your device.
Many independent researchers have tested how the data is collected. Despite some claims that the app downloads your entire camera roll, results show this is not the case.
The app’s servers are also believed to be located in the United States. Most importantly there has been no evidence that the app is using the information collected will be used for illegal purposes.
using a network traffic analyzer, I tried to replicate the thing people are talking about with FaceApp allegedly uploading your full camera roll to remote servers, but I did not see the reported activity occur.
here is marlo stanfiekd with a beard though pic.twitter.com/6wy8cHLNuA
— Will Strafach (@chronic) July 17, 2019
The main concern for many is that photos and information can be held on the servers indefinitely.
I am not seeing much fishy in FaceApp
Photos are uploaded to FaceApp's servers on AWS w/ authorization. Not much info is being sent to FaceApp's servers other than user metrics (e.g. ui interactions)
I just wish there's an option for users to delete their photos from the server
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) July 17, 2019
What do you think about FaceApp collecting this data? Is the fear legitimate?