Over the last week, FaceApp has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to an aging filter.
The user uploads a photograph with a human face to the app, and the program adds lines, wrinkles, and gray hair to it. A load bunch of celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon.
One of the reasons behind FaceApp’s explosion in popularity is its price: free to use, with additional filters unlocked with a subscription. However, while you might not be paying any money to use FaceApp, the program is still set up to profit off of you.
A more reckless insinuation was that because FaceApp is a Russian startup, the program was somehow a Kremlin psyop — in FaceApp’s statement to TechCrunch, the app’s creators said that the program’s “user data is not transferred to Russia.”
There’s a bit of problematic stuff in FaceApp’s Terms of Services agreement. By using FaceApp, you’re giving the company a blanket, royalty-free license to use the photos however they want without notifying or paying you. If you post a photo of your friend, you’re waiving their rights, too.
The company did release a statement in the wake of the social media outcry. The company dispelled any concerns about its connection to Russia, stating that while the core research and development team is located there, the company does not transfer any user data to Russia.
However, FaceApp’s terms of services aren’t uniquely egregious, as VICE’s Caroline Haskins outlines. Chances are you already have one or more apps on your phone that are mining your data and selling it in similar ways. Is it a privacy nightmare? Well, yes, but so is everything else.