July 27, 2019
Thin, yet intriguing facial app raises privacy concerns
FaceApp is an interesting app that uses your face and creates a picture of what you might look like if you were older or younger, or if you changed genders. It also has a “Pro” version that costs money and has a few other advantages, but not any that would justify its pricetag, in my opinion. It has a few other options, though admittedly it isn’t much more than that. Its paper-thin feature list was interesting while it lasted, but you’ll probably end up like me and have the app installed for less than five minutes. It’s not a bad app, just not one that serves any purpose other than to make you say “Oh, that’s cool” and press the uninstall button subsequently after. In that case, it served its purpose quite well. FaceApp has also caught some heat for the privacy concerns that it brings. It does store your images and data into its system, but the developer claimed the data is processed into Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services. Senator Chuck Schumer, however, has called for the app to be investigated by the FBI due to its supposed invasions of privacy, and suspicions that the data is being transferred to Russia, the app’s country of origin. All of this does bring to the forefront something that I feel like many don’t discuss enough, and that is user privacy. Many apps have been suspected of violating user privacy, including Facebook, so dialogue over FaceApp and its handling of user data is very important and serves as a reminder to always know what you’re installing. Don’t mindlessly install something just to do it. Read the terms and conditions that go with the app, and be knowledgeable of what apps can do with your data if you allow them to. Honestly, I find the concerns raised against FaceApp to be a tad overblown, as many more popular (and American) apps provide more glaring examples of misuse of user data, but at the same time, it is probably best suited for those who are more likely to understand the basis of privacy on the Internet more maturely. Because of this, it is best suited for teens (13+) and mature tweens (11-12+).