Downloading an app can be exciting. Perhaps it’s a new game or a helpful tool, but sometimes the excitement of having something trumps caution. Last month, there was a lot of talk about an app that takes a photo of a person and transforms it into a much older version of that person. While FaceApp has been around since 2017, its popularity surged recently when celebrities started using it and posting their transformations onto social media platforms like Instagram. People were surprised and shocked, but perhaps mostly amused at the transformations. Fun, right? Sure, but the fun stops with the US government and FBI. Whoa! How can an innocent little app get so much attention? One simple word: privacy. Was FaceApp using personal photos for more than just fun transformations? Social media was abuzz with people wondering whether FaceApp was taking their photos (and other data for that matter!) without their permission. After all, FaceApp needs to process the uploaded photo to add features like wrinkles, gray hair, and more to transform the photo; the more photos that are uploaded, the more the tool is able to add features more effectively. While the US government continues to be suspicious of the app and warned presidential candidates and their staff to delete it, the developers of FaceApp have reassured their users that they are not collecting any private information about them. And despite the rumors, they aren’t extracting entire photo albums from users, nor are they working with the Russian government to spy on people. As an added step of reassurance to their users, they’ve implemented an option for people to delete the photos they’ve uploaded. While the FaceApp controversy may have been a scare, it actually helped raise awareness about privacy issues at large. That’s a plus, if you ask us!
August 3, 2019