The FaceApp Age Filter and How To Remove Your Photos From Their Database

FaceApp-remove-photo-database

Living in a world filled with ads boasting porcelain skin and chiseled jawlines, you’d think that photos of a more youthful self would be highly sought after. Things definitely appear different as Facebook and Instagram are flooded with pictures of old people!

Time travel doesn’t need to be hard.

No time-travelling gimmicks here, your friends and family have probably been using FaceApp. FaceApp is a photo-editing app that filters your selfies by 50 years, turning you into a granny or grandpappy in seconds.

Other features include plastering smiles on faces or giving people a cute babyish appearance.

FaceApp-Logo
The FaceApp logo

FaceApp’s creator is a Russian-based company, Wireless Lab which has been under fire recently. Although showing others your wrinkly self is good fun, letting an app have access to your selfies is not.

Researchers have dived into FaceApp’s privacy policy and notice a few things that may pique your interest:

  1. FaceApp will have anonymous access to any information or content that you voluntarily process when using its services. 
  2. Your information and/or user content collected may be transferred to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction (if you’re residing in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that differ from U.S. law). 
  3. FaceApp may combine your information with other information in a way that it is no longer associated with you and share that aggregated information. 
  4. You may not opt-out of service-related emails.

These policies may strike a different chord to individuals, some understand that pretty much all free popular apps are invasive to a certain extent whilst others may feel down-right exposed.

Nevertheless, the full privacy policy seems a little less than ordinary which warrants deeper investigation.

yaroslav-goncharov
CEO of FaceApp Yaroslav Goncharov

According to The Atlantic, Wireless Lab CEO Yaroslav Goncharov was questioned about the app’s privacy policy which he defended in The Washington Post. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requested an FBI investigation to take place, specifically to look into FaceApp’s data usage policies.

The Atlantic reached out for a comment from FaceApp but did not receive one in time for publication.

Though it may seem alarming and you’re ready to hit ‘uninstall’, there may be a work-around this issue. In a statement to TechCrunch, FaceApp mentioned that it does accept requests from users to remove their data from its servers.

The request can be made in the app by going to Setting > Support > Report a bug with the word “privacy” in the subject line. Phew, close one. 

Privacy does matter

Seeing that AI-based picture app downloads are on the rise, we should take precautionary steps to safeguard our photographs and information.


Read the terms and conditions, no matter how long it may be.


It is key to remind ourselves that the onus is on us to be educated on the terms before joining a trend that could be sketchy.


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References

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/07/faceapp-mess/594361/

https://www.faceapp.com/privacy

https://sea.mashable.com/tech/5183/think-faceapps-privacy-policy-is-sketchy-weve-got-some-news-for-you

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/17/20697771/faceapp-privacy-concerns-ios-android-old-age-filter-russia