FaceApp’s Developers Say They Aren’t Stealing Your Photos or Data
You've probably seen people posting pictures of themselves aged to Methuselah levels of absurdity lately. The FaceApp challenge (why it's called a challenge is beyond me) involves uploading a selfie to FaceApp and selecting the "Old" filter. The results are pretty crazy.
I scrunched up my face to add a couple extra chins (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!), and the filter made me look like I'm about to yell at some kids to get off my lawn, then write a novella about Millennials in a Facebook group about lawn care.
Celebrities and athletes have been uploading their ages pics to the delight of fans, but many are concerned about privacy rights and what FaceApp is and is not allowed to do with the media on their phone.
It's always healthy to ask questions when you install one of these photo editing apps, but the developers insist that their user permission policies line up with those of Facebook and SnapChat, and that they aren't reaching into your phone to cherrypick your data and media.
Much of the concerns about privacy stem from the fact that the app's development team is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, a source with the company told Forbes that images are uploaded to servers in the United States and Australia for processing. (I guess that somehow makes it better?)
This, of course, raises the question of why the company doesn't just process images on your device instead of having you upload an image to their server. While developers weren't as responsive to that question (they essentially said they'd get back to Forbes on that one), it's possible that they want to help the artificial intelligence on their servers learn and grow. I'm assuming that will help them in future AI ventures.
Personally, I'm always on the lookout for apps that seem malicious or ask for far too many permissions when it comes to accessing functions on my phone, but every app these days is required to ask you permission first, and that's a good thing. Transparency is always good. Still, diligence is always in order, and if you ever feel that an app might be overstepping its bounds, there's nothing wrong with uninstalling or asking questions.
Personally, FaceApp wasn't going to get much from my camera roll unless they really wanted dank memes and pictures of my dog. However, I uninstalled it after making my old man pic, A) because I hate selfies and B) because I'm just not that into stuff like this. It's for the darned kids who cut across my lawn to walk to school, dadgummit!