Is FaceApp Safe to Use? - DO NOT Use it Until You Read This

Last Update: July 24, 2019

Unless you have been living under a rock lately or have just been unplugged from social media and TV, there is a new viral app for your smartphone called FaceApp. But is FaceApp safe to use? I'll let you be the judge after I present to you the facts.

YOUR PERSONAL DATA IS AT RISK

I can fully understand the draw of a new fun app that will use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to alter the look of a photo of you and age it 15, 20 or more years. Downloading and using a free app to get a glimpse of what you will look like years from now has got to be safe, right?

Do you remember the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica scandal? This was a major political scandal in early 2018 that harvested the personal data of 87 million Facebook users without their permission while using a seemingly safe and fun app called This Is Your Digital Life.

The app was developed by Russian-born Aleksandr Kogan, a data scientist at Cambridge University in the UK. Cambridge Analytica used this app as part of research in which several hundred thousand Facebook users would complete a fun and safe survey.

Unknowing to the Facebook participants, this app was able to harvest their personal data from their profile page AND the personal data of EVERYONE that were either friends or following them. This is why Facebook admitted to Congress that 87 million profiles were compromised.

The collected data was enough to create psycho graphic profiles on everyone. This info was then used to target people based on where they lived and what political affiliation they followed, to post relevant ads and memes in their newsfeed to sway their views.

FACEAPP HAS SIMILAR RED FLAGS

There is a lot of buzz online that FaceApp is not as safe to use as is claims, and for good reason. No one is saying that this app is being used for nefarious reasons, but you have to be very skeptical of its use especially after reading the Terms of Service.

In a nutshell you still own the content, meaning your picture. But by you using the app you are giving full, unreversable permission for the owners of FaceApp to use your picture and data for anything they want to. And guess what? FaceApp is owned by a Russian company.

Before I post a picture from their Terms of Service, what they say in their Privacy Policy sounds a lot like what the Cambridge app did. FaceApp will harvest your location, IP address, and log file data for the purpose of aiming targeted ads toward you. But what else?

Just in case you cannot read what the Terms of Service says between those two yellow highlights, I will type all of it below and break it up into smaller paragraphs so you can easily read it and absorb its meaning.

Terms of Service:

You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content,

and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.

When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT FACEAPP?

Even though FaceApp has been around for about two years now in a smaller capacity before this worldwide re-launch, are you willing to trust a Russian company with your personal data that it will harvest from your smartphone and not use it for criminal doings or identity theft?

When confronted with these concerns, the owners of FaceApp said that users could request via email to have their photos deleted at anytime. But there is no way for people to know if it will be actually done and what about all of your personal data that was already harvested?

It has to make you wonder if there is something strange going on. A Russian company in St Petersburg (not far from Moscow), gaining all this personal data you are giving full permission to do whatever they want with, all of a sudden being re-released before a major U.S. election?

Though this app is available through Apple and Google, how well was their vetting process? If Facebook's vetting process could be circumvented when Cambridge Analytica was used to target users for a scam, how do we know Apple and Google are safe? WE DON'T!

My advice to you is to not get or use this app if you haven't already. If you have used it, even though you can delete it if you didn't create an account or email the FaceApp company and tell them to close your account, your personal data is already out there. You can read more about it here.

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YanFellow Premium
Hey Robert -I don't use any apps, mainly through lack of interest.

99.99% of users won';t read the T&C. It'll be up to the 'authorities' to step and claim they are 'unfair' by which time it will be too late.

But a massive amount of our personal info is already available onlineand can easily be scraped by anyone. In fact, it probably has.
Ian
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boomergp08 Premium
As someone who used to develop iPhone apps, I know how information is collected. In my opinion it is irresponsible for people to not read the fine print of the PP and TOS.

Even though there is a lot of our data out there already, many companies that collect it, like WA, are reputable in how they use it. The best form of protection is to not expose yourself when possible.
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YanFellow Premium
Totally agree but loads of my friends use apps and games and they really aren't interested in protecting their data. I assume as long as they don't get hacked or somethign bad happens because of it.

But you're right.
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boomergp08 Premium
I have many friends and family like that too. For instance my sister doesn't understand why I do not have a Facebook app on my iPhone. I told her that I access FB via the Safari internet app.

She says the app is easier. I said the app has security issues as many apps do. Then she started getting hacked and wondered why I didn't when others she is friends with that have the app were having problems too.
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YanFellow Premium
Oh dear :-(

Maybe a lesson learned?
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EHR Premium
Thanks for this. I never planned to use it anyway after other cautionary tales I have heard. Thanks for the post. Gene
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Gene. The last thing I need to see is what I will look like in another 20 years. LOL
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EHR Premium
Wow, I don't even want to think about mine. Gene
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wendyg53 Premium
This is why I don't use any of the FB apps. A lot of my friends do, and then they get upset when they get hacked. It's not worth the risk. Clearly, people have too much time on their hands. Thanks for posting the warning.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. I do not use any of the Facebook apps or have many third party apps on my phone. I used to develop apps for the iPhone and I know how information is collected that people do not realize.
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varleysheen Premium
I don't see the difference between trusting Russia or any other Country.

Are people in other countries more trust worthy?

Russia are just a manufactured enemy. The west always needs a bad guy.

Most companies harvest your data in some shape or form.

Personally not bothered about any of them apps.

Most people's data is already out there
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boomergp08 Premium
The country isn't the main reason for concern, it is the PP and TOS. Though ones data may be out there many security experts agree that limiting your exposure is the safest thing to do.
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KC1953 Premium
Not a matter of country as much as ideology and yes, there are other ideologies more compatible with individual freedom and free enterprise than the Russian doctrine.

The growing inability of free societies, Americans in particular, to make that distinction is most concerning of all.
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Eartha Premium
That is disturbing. I’ve noticed a lot of people using this app on social media. Thank you for sharing this information.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes and the most disturbing part is many people use apps without reading the PP and TOS, making themselves vulnerable to any kind of wrong doing should it happen.
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