Although FaceApp has been around since 2014, it had its minute of glory in 2017 thanks to a function that allowed users to apply filters to emulate different ethnic groups.
FaceApp lets users turn moody faces to merry ones, see what they would look like grey haired and grizzled, and turn back the hands of time, among other things. It is an app built only to please those who really want a new way to play roulette with their own face.
However, since its launch, FaceApp hasn’t been without controversy and we list the prominent ones below so that they can guide you in your use of the app.
“When you use our Service, our servers automatically record certain log file information, including your web request, Internet Protocol address, browser type, referring / exit pages and URLs, number of clicks and how you interact with links on the Service, domain names, landing pages, pages viewed, and other such information.”
Security experts have warned that people who use FaceApp may be putting their personal information at risk, including the pictures they are sharing of themselves. The app uses “device identifiers” allowing the company to monitor how you browse and use the app in order to target you with “personalised content which could include online ads or other forms of marketing”.
Not only that, the world is slowly but steadily tilting towards facial recognition so you need to start treating your face like a password because if the data you share with apps like FaceApp falls into the wrong hands, it could be used by cybercriminals to spoof your identity.
Another issue that most concerned users have is that the developer of FaceApp, Wireless Lab does not specify what would happen if the company was dissolved or sold, nor whether it can be transferred the fiscal direction of the same to abide by another more permissive regulation with the data collected.
The Transformations Stack
Some people have figured out that transforming an already altered FaceApp photo more than once can really create some disturbing images.
FaceApp founder and chief executive, Yaroslav Goncharov had to apologise when the app’s “hot” filter was tagged racist. The ‘hot’ filter purportedly made you look better by whitening the skin of people of colour to make them look more attractive. Following the backlash, FaceApp said it had temporarily renamed the filter “spark” and the option was no longer available on the Android version of the app.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Goncharov said it was “working on a complete fix that should arrive soon”.
“We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue. It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour.”