FaceApp – which can be credited as the best face changing app, has recently gone viral. The #faceapp challenge has swept across social media, but is the app actually invading your privacy?
What is Faceapp?
The face editing app Faceapp, is able to alter the images of user’s face by using AI technology, making them appear younger, changing their gender and giving them a different hairstyle, and, most popular of all, showing them what they might look like in the future – old. The internet has gone absolutely bonkers with the app, and from celebs to citizens, everyone is trying out the app.
While the app has gone viral, it has quite a bit of a controversial past. In 2017, the app added a feature to make the face appear hotter and more attractive, by lightening the user’s skin tone, which was instantly dubbed as racist.
Goncharov, the company’s CEO publically apologized, saying, “We are deeply sorry for this unquestionable issue. It is the unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour. To mitigate the issue, we have renamed the effect to exclude any positive connotation associated with it.”
Is Faceapp stealing data?
And now, after a couple of years, the app has gone viral again, after the celebrities started posting their photos of what they might look like when they’re old. As the trend caught on, people started warning their friends about the language used in the app’s license agreement. It reads as follows:
“You grant faceapp, a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform 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.”
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What do the officials say?
Faceapp, upon facing allegations of stealing data, said, “Even though the core R & D team is located in Russia, the data is not transferred to Russia.” The app also confirmed that it only uses the photos that the users take and it would delete user data from the server at user’s request.
Whatever the truth is here, this definitely is a wake-up call for a lot of people. The policies you agree to abide by, when you download Faceapp are not that different from any other app you’re downloading from your beloved Play Store. Everything, including Health Apps to Whether Apps, can collect your data. Facebook has been selling our data to advertisement companies for years. Snapchat sends your photos to remote servers before they’re automatically deleted, and Instagram has access to your location and your camera.
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What is our responsibility?
While it’s easy to put all the blame on the companies and governments, let’s take a moment to look at ourselves. What is our personal responsibility in all of this? Isn’t it our fault that just out of sheer laziness, we never read the license agreements, and unconditionally accept all the policies which may be harmful to us? As long as we, as people, remain gullible, there will be intelligent entrepreneurs who’d be more than happy to take advantage of us.
We have to become more careful about how much of our life do we leave in the hands of technology. It’s important to keep up with the growing trends, but it is also important or should we say more important, to make sure that we learn to draw the line between trend and trouble.