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Recent Popular Aged Face APP on Facebook Has Serious Privacy Issues

By July 18, 2019May 17th, 2022Cybersecurity

If you spend any time at all on social media, you’ve probably seen the latest craze:  People posting photos of themselves aged, so they look like they’re in their sixties, seventies, or even older than that. FaceApp, the program behind the face-aging magic has actually been available for a few years, but it has only recently gained the attention of the masses, suddenly and inexplicably going viral after enjoying a quiet existence early on.

Unfortunately, one feature of the app, paired with the company’s expansive terms of service could make a number of users uncomfortable.

Let’s start with the company’s terms of service, which reads, in part, as follows:

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.  When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your Username, location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.”

That’s quite a mouthful but think for a moment about the scope and scale of the permission you’re giving to this app to use it.

Now pair that with the fact that when you tap a photograph in the app and instruct it to age you, it uploads a copy of your photo to servers located in Russia.  Also note that it doesn’t ask your permission to do this, or inform you of it, it just happens in the background.

According to a company spokesperson, the purpose of this functionality is to enhance and improve the speed of the image transformation in-app, relying in part on AI algorithms on the company’s servers.

It’s a (barely) plausible explanation but think about those two things taken together and ask yourself if you’re really 100% comfortable with giving that level of control to a company. Is it worth what you’re getting in return?  For a few chuckles of appreciation at your magically aged photograph?

Most people aren’t comfortable with that, but sadly, most people don’t read TOS agreements closely before agreeing to their terms.  If you’re one of the legions of recent fans of FaceApp, keep the details above in mind and discontinue using the application right away.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.