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IS FACEAPP SAFE? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FACEAPP CHALLENGE

Is faceapp safe? – The truth about the faceapp challenge – A few weeks ago, I logged in to Instagram, as I don’t usually do so everyday, only to notice that a challenge was going on, “#TheFaceAppChallenge” and it was interesting.

Majority of my favorite actors were uploading pictures of what they would look like in their older version, and the older ones were uploading pictures of their much younger versions.

IS FACEAPP SAFE? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FACEAPP CHALLENGE
IS FACEAPP SAFE? THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FACEAPP CHALLENGE

Not only my favorite actors but also thousands of people participated in this challenge, and I would have participated though, but then I didn’t have space to download the FaceApp.

In the last few days, the warning and alarm have been raised about the app’s terms and conditions. If you are one of the people who downloaded the FaceApp, as of recently, to participate in the “#FaceAppChallenge”, you may have unintentionally given access to them, to do whatever they want with that content.

WHAT IS FACEAPP?

First of all, FaceApp is not a new app. It first came into the spotlight in January 2017, recording a total number of 80 million downloads and has now gained the spotlight again, thanks to the challenge.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The FaceApp makes use of artificial intelligence. An algorithm takes the picture you want to use and modifies it based on other imagery to replicate what you will look like in your old age, adding wrinkles and the challenge is the company’s marketing strategy encouraging you to share the picture.

SO…WHY THE ALARM?

Suspicions about the FaceApp aroused when an app developer, Joshua Nozzi, tweeted that FaceApp was uploading troves of pictures from people’s phones without asking permission.

In like manner, a man known as Eliot Alderson, a French cyber-security researcher, investigated Mr. Nozzi’s claims. He found out that FaceApp was only taking the particular pictures users submitted and not the other way around. FaceApp also confirmed this to BBC.

Another reason why people are scared is that the company that makes the app, Wireless Lab, is based in St Petersburg, Russia. And with the role Russia and Russian companies played in the United States’ 2016 elections and other international affairs, it is not a surprise that people are concerned about the app’s access to their pictures and other private information.

However, FaceApp’s privacy policy gives it the capacity to collect information sent by your device, which includes the websites you visit and any other information that helps the app improve its service.

This means that FaceApp has a very wide range of access to your pictures even if they said that they have no intent to misuse your data or information. But for security reasons, politicians have been advised not to use the app.

“We never transfer any other images. We might store an uploaded picture in the cloud. The reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photos repeatedly for every edit operation.

Most images are deleted from our services within 48 hours from the upload date”. This statement was made by Mr. Goncharov, who heads Wireless Lab.

SO… SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FACEAPP? IS FACEAPP SAFE?

Identically, with FaceApp we are doing the same things we don’t work with other apps, the same privacy trade-offs. We don’t usually worry about privacy invasions when we download Snapchat or Instagram or even TikTok; in fact, we don’t think about it.

The terms and condition for most of this app requests for access to our photos and other private information, but nobody cares.

Sometimes, we don’t read through the terms and conditions to see what’s there; we go right to clicking “I agree”.

SO…IS FACEAPP SAFE?

Just like other apps that we download, it depends on the risk we are willing to take. But one major lesson here is, always read the terms and conditions of any app you want to download to know what you are getting yourself into.

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