LIFESTYLE NEWS - Every now and again a new app takes the world by storm...
This time around it is the #faceappchallenge, which has gone viral all over social media. The “challenge” sees people downloading a selfie-editing app called FaceApp, which digitally alters your face to look older or younger.
Lots of people all over the world have been downloading the app and sharing the results with their friends and followers all in the name of fun. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Drake also posted their ageing selfies.
By Wednesday, 17 July, there were several reports that the AI photo editor was created by a Russian company called Wireless Lab and that when people downloaded it, they were essentially giving out their personal information to “the Russians”.
Panic began to set in with some experts warning people against downloading the app. Software developer, Joshua Nozzi, warned: “BE CAREFUL WITH FACEAPP… it immediately uploads your photos without asking, whether you chose one or not."
Media outlets began running stories around the privacy concerns that came with the app. Twitter user James Whatley posted the terms and conditions of the app sending people into a panic that their privacy had been breached.
Here are a few facts people need to know regarding the app and its privacy settings:
- Most apps you download have access to your private information so this is nothing new. Whether you choose to login with your Facebook or Gmail account, the app will have access to certain info.
- The Guardian interviewed a French security researcher with the pseudonym Elliot Alderson. He ran a check on the app and found out that it does not upload your entire camera roll – just the photo you were modifying.
- Alderson told journalist Arwa Mahdawi that he couldn’t find any evidence of the app stealing people’s data; it was just getting your device ID and your device model.
- FaceApp responded to the controversy and told 9to5Mac that it “might store” some uploaded photos in the cloud for “performance and traffic” reasons. They said: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”
- FaceApp also said that while the app’s “core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia”.
- FaceApp also says that photo processing is done in the cloud and they only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. “We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud,” they said.
- Users of any apps should check the terms and conditions of the apps they are using at all times but the truth is many apps you’ve signed up for probably have access to your private information.