FaceApp, an app based in Russia which applies filters to photos has recently gained the opportunity to be under the spotlight once more this past week on most social media platforms. The first time the app became viral was in the year 2017, however this time around, the app has a filter option which is capable of making people in a photo look older or younger. As great as that sounds, our sources have reported that users are beginning to discover that the app is taking out metadata from those photos.
After conducting a diligent research on the app, the results showed that the app is not doing anything harmful at all, however, people are now more alert considering the usual tech practices that may prove to be more invasive than users tend to recognize.
In theory, FaceApp is able to process photos on a device, however as stated by Yaroslav Goncharov, a former Yandex executive and CEO of the Russian company that created FaceApp to our sources sometime ago, photos that are uploaded to the app are stored on the servers of the company so as to save bandwidth if a case arises where a lot of filters are used and are eventually deleted. While making a statement, FaceApp said that it accepts requests from users who want their data removed from its servers. At present, the team is “overloaded” however, users who want their data removed can send the request through Setting > Support > Report a bug and put “privacy” in the subject line.
Though we are not entirely certain that FaceApp deletes the photo data, but it is safe for one to know that data is being collected whenever they make use of the app. Although a Russian app which makes them suspicious, the company claims that no data of any user is being sent to Russia.
One more privacy issue to note is that the privacy policies of the company allows for broad language which allows them to make use of people’s usernames, names, and likeness for commercial purposes although FaceApp claims it does not sell data to third-parties.
FaceApp may not pose that great deal of a threat to privacy however as is the case with any other app, there is the issue of a trade-off. You may want to see what you may appear like eighty years from now and that means you are going to have to send a photo carrying your face, and just the fact that the company that created this app is in Russia, your photos may be exposed to the security services of the country.