Why FaceApp could make you look really old?

Aging is often a sensitive issue in our society. So delicate that some people prefer to have their wrinkles splashed away, cheating at birth, developing rejuvenation methods or even work on eternal life. The easiest way not to look so old: to get photos quickly app with a filter.

Fortunately, there is now the counter-trend: People are currently sharing tons of photos showing what they might look like in old age. It is particularly easy to produce such images with FaceApp. Users can upload a recent photo of themselves (or someone else) in the app. The system makes it a picture that depicts the photographed person in a few decades: with wrinkles, white hair, a crumpled face. And now there are everywhere before-and-after images on the social network under the hashtag #FaceAppChallenge.

People can see through the FaceApp how they may eventually look like old people. © dpa

An app as a “national security risk”?

Pretty funny, if there were not the privacy policy. Who uses FaceApp, allows the creators to use the content created there indefinitely, irrevocably, free of charge and worldwide. You also have to grant commercial rights to the app. Means: If the creators decide to advertise with the image of a user, she does not get a cent for it and can not even defend against it.

If a user wants to edit a photo, it also automatically lands on an external server. According to the US magazine Forbes, these are Amazon or Google computers. Although users can delete pictures. But they can still stay on the servers. In the data protection conditions, one agrees that content can be stored indefinitely, even if the content has long been removed.

And what many do not know: FaceApp comes from Russia. Wireless Lab, the company behind the program, sits in St. Petersburg. In the US, where the Russian government is said to have digitally influenced the recent presidential election, this information alone is causing skepticism. American politician Chuck Schumer sees FaceApp as a “national security risk”. In a letter he asks the FBI to check whether the data of American citizens could come into the hands of the Russian government. In times of face recognition, it is essential that users know how to secure their personal and biometric data, writes Schumer.

The makers themselves deny such rumors. “We do not share or sell user data to any third parties,” said FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov Forbes. The user data would not be sent to Russia. In addition, content would mostly be processed directly in the cloud and not stored on servers.

Likes instead of privacy

New is such discussions not. The same thing happened in 2016 with the Prisma app. She transforms images into small works of art that, like the FaceApp photos, spread quickly into social media. Also, there were privacy concerns, also there were connections to Russia. Nevertheless, quite a few users downloaded the app.

Privacy is quickly forgotten if you can dust some Likes somewhere or just want to fool around. Of course, almost everyone knows that you should first read the privacy policy. But it would be too easy to blame the users. After all, it is the companies that want to use the data. Then they should also explicitly point out if they store data for an exceptionally long time or use it commercially.

After all, such network phenomena also have something good: As fast as they appear, they mostly disappear again. And so one can assume that even the hype around the FaceApp is not getting very old.

amardeep kaushal

Blogger, Marketer & Data Analyst.

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