FaceApp Has Responded Everyone's Concerns About App's Privacy
Just a quick scroll through social media, and you'll notice that suddenly all of your best mates have aged by several decades - well, according to the deluge of wrinkly, grey-haired selfies that seems to have taken over your feed.
The pictures are the cunning work of FaceApp, an app that renders your face elderly (or young, or bearded; there are several filters) so that you can get a (slightly worrying) glimpse into the future.
With everyone joining the party and sharing eerie photos of themselves as an OAP all over Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, the trend has now gone viral.
But with that widespread use has also come a growing concern about the app's privacy, as many users noticed that FaceApp was able to access their photo libraries without them ever having given permission or enabled access - as we're used to having to do with apps.
Re: FaceApp, can't speak to it "uploading" photos but the app is definitely able to access my library even though I have Photos permission set to "never" pic.twitter.com/jDMkqu5nML
- Karissa Bell (@karissabe) July 16, 2019
Others also spotted that the iOS app appears to be overriding settings if they'd denied access to their camera roll, while many more wondered what was happening to the photos once they are edited.
Now FaceApp has responded, having issued a statement addressing the various concerns that have arisen.
In the statement, as reported by TechCrunch, FaceApp confirmed that most of the processing need to power the app's effects are done in the cloud, and also admitted it 'might' store photos users have chosen to upload for 'performance and traffic', but that most images are deleted from its servers within 48 hours.
FaceApp also said users can request to have their data deleted, although it doesn't look as though there's a particularly streamlined way of doing so just yet, as people have to go through the 'Report a bug' process.
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The statement reads: "1. FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud. We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud.
"2. We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn't upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.
"3. We accept requests from users for removing all their data from our servers. Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority. For the fastest processing, we recommend sending the requests from the FaceApp mobile app using "Settings->Support->Report a bug" with the word "privacy" in the subject line. We are working on the better UI for that.
"5. We don't sell or share any user data with any third parties.
"6. Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia.
"Additionally, we'd like to comment on one of the most common concerns: all pictures from the gallery are uploaded to our servers after a user grants access to the photos [...] We don't do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Jonas Brothers