This year the popular photo manipulation app, FaceApp, went viral and experienced a sudden influx of new users and app downloads. However, in doing so they raised their profile and received some backlash regarding privacy concerns.
The Russian made app first launched back in 2017 and has faced criticism for various reasons since its launch. Some of the more predominant criticisms have involved the developers being accused of racism due to certain new filters the app had rolled out which appear to make people’s complexions paler.
There has been many reports surrounding exactly what FaceApp is doing with users’ information and pictures. When an iOS user applies a filter to a photo, the photo is uploaded to FaceApp’s servers where AI (artificial intelligence) manipulates the picture (the most popular manipulation at the moment is a filter that makes an individual look older) and is then downloaded back onto the phone.
The CEO of the company behind the app, Yaroslav Goncharov, told The Verge that any photos uploaded to the app are then stored on the company’s servers in an effort to save bandwidth in case multiple filters are then applied to said photos. He also stated that photos are deleted not long after, but there’s no way to know this for sure.
These actions carried out by FaceApp, the uploading of photos to their servers isn’t an uncommon practice for apps like these, or many social media apps. Popular picture messaging app, Snapchat, also uploads users’ pictures to their servers and they also claim that they delete the picture shortly after.
With the spotlight heavily on FaceApp, it should make people think twice about handing over their personal data left, right and centre.
Is giving up your data worth being able to use a certain service or app?