FaceApp is the most popular free app on Google Play and Apple’s App Store thanks to an age filter that makes people in photos look much older. But while countless photos of aged celebrities and casual FaceApp users have been shared online in the past week, there are mounting concerns with how FaceApp handles user data.
FaceApp first became popular in 2017; the app uses artificial intelligence to alter people’s faces with a variety of filters. Photos added to FaceApp are uploaded to a server for processing before being sent back to the user.
Understanding FaceApp’s policy on paper
FaceApp’s terms of service give the company license to use photos and other information uploaded by users for commercial purposes, including their names, likenesses, and voices. The terms of service also say that FaceApp may continue to store user data after it’s deleted from the app. The company said the data could be retained to comply with “certain legal obligations,” but there is no limitation on how long the data can be kept.
FaceApp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FaceApp issued a statement to address privacy concerns
FaceApp provided TechCrunch with an itemized statement to clarify its policy amid the privacy concerns. Though the terms of service suggest that data can still be transferred to the Russian development team, the company says user data remains on the server-side. FaceApp says photos stored on the server are kept to make the editing process more efficient for its users and that the photos are usually deleted within two days.
So far, security experts have not detected any unusual practices with the current version of FaceApp, but as with all apps, users should be mindful of their lack of control when sharing photos and other personal data.