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Millions Having Fun With FaceApp. Now, the Downside

Critics say users are jeopardizing their own privacy through Russian-made app
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2019 11:41 AM CDT
FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone in New York on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

(Newser) – You may have seen the wrinkled faces of friends online, or shared your own, thanks to an aging filter that transforms user photos via the viral FaceApp. The Russian-made app has been around since 2017 but has seen new interest with the viral #FaceAppChallenge and #AgeChallenge, with participants including Lil Nas X and Cookie Monster. Indeed, FaceApp is now the top-ranked app on the iOS Store in 121 countries. As a result, it's amassed a collection of 150 million names and faces, per Forbes. And that has now raised a slew of privacy concerns. Details and developments:

  • Users grant the app "a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use" one's name and likeness "without compensation to you," per USA Today, which notes most users allow the app to access their photos and Facebook account.
  • Images are uploaded to FaceApp's servers. Developer Wireless Lab, based in St. Petersburg, claims most are deleted after 48 hours, reports TechCrunch, though it's not clear what happens to the rest.

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