FaceApp under fire, now responds to privacy concerns

By Arhama Altaf - Web Editor

19th July, 2019

After Snapchat’s baby filter and gender swap filter, netizens are now obsessed with a face filter app called ‘FaceApp.’

The Russian AI-based app that first went viral back in 2017 has made a comeback as a lot of celebrities started sharing their older wrinkly looks with grey hair and saggy cheeks on their social media handles.

Fan pages of other celebrities are also flooding the internet to recreate their favorite celebs using the app.

FaceApp has already crossed 50 million downloads on Google Play Store and users cannot seem to get enough of it. It is another viral social media trend #FaceAppChallenge!

The app doesn’t even have any age-changing features — it instead has a primitive version of Snapchat’s face swap filter — yet it’s currently the #7 free app in the App Store.

But apart from fun, the FaceApp has now responded to a privacy controversy.

Another issue raised by FaceApp users was that the iOS app appears to be overriding settings if a user had denied access to their camera roll, after people reported they could still select and upload a photo, despite the app not having permission to access their photos.

It claims that it only uploads photos users have specifically selected for editing. Security tests have also not found evidence the app uploads a user’s entire camera roll.

“Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date”, according to a user.

It also claims no user data is “transferred to Russia”, even though its R&D team is based there. So the suggestion is that storage and cloud processing are being performed using infrastructure based outside Russia.

It also points out that the vast majority of FaceApp users don’t log in, making the point that it’s not able to link photos to identities in most cases.

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