- The viral FaceApp has received criticism about users' privacy
- It is believed to have questionable privacy policies that most people are unaware of
- Millions of users have downloaded the app with no knowledge of how their data is shared
So you saw people using an app to age their appearance and it looked like good fun - you got curious and downloaded FaceApp. Unfortunately, in doing so, you may have released a picture of your face and data to the Russian government.
FaceApp has caused a stir as rumours swirl that the app might be secretly downloading your entire photo album. Soon after it shot to the top of the Apple and Google store charts this week, privacy advocates began waving warning flags about the Russian-made app's vague legalese.
It's become clear that nobody reads the terms and conditions of most apps they install, even our own Mzansi celebrities have been participating in the fun. Briefly.co.za reported that some of our Mzansi celebs have jumped on what is dubbed the #FaceAppChallenge and shared pictures of their edited, aged appearance.
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The app shares information off users' phones with Facebook and Google AdMob, which likely helps it place ads and check the performance of its ads.
What data do they take?
FaceApp uploads and processes photos in the cloud, according to company CEO Yaroslav Goncharov. You can also use FaceApp without giving it your name or email address - and 99 percent of users do just that.
How long do they hold on to your data?
The app's terms of service grant it a "perpetual" licence to photos.
What are they doing with the data?
Legally, the app's terms give it the right to do whatever it wants, through an "irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable licence." (Bet you wish you read those lengthy conditions now, don't you?)
Whether that matters to you or not is your decision. But what we have learned in the past few years about viral apps is that the data they collect is not always used for the purposes that we might assume. This latest one has given all a good reason to be wary when any app wants access and a license to your identity.
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