JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just a few days after exploding in popularity, FaceApp has come under the microscope with questions raised about its origins and what the makers intend to do with user data.
Even though it’s been around since 2017, the app really took off this week as celebrities posted pictures on social media showing what they’d look like when they’re older, one of the app’s latest features.
But it didn’t take long for many of the 150 million users who downloaded the app to start second-guessing themselves. Especially as security experts and lawmakers sounded alarm bells.
Calvin Bryant, founder of Jacksonville Beach-based C7 creative, warned that giving the app access to your phone was a slippery slope: “You literally can take over someone’s life from a digital standpoint.”
Bryant isn’t alone in his skepticism about the risk FaceApp poses to users. On Wednesday, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called for a federal investigation into what the developer does with the data.
"I ask that the FBI assess whether the personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government,” Schumer wrote in part.
Experts recommend that smartphone users only download applications from trusted developers, and also to carefully read the fine print contained within the terms of service.
In the case of FaceApp’s user agreement, the terms allow the “transfer and storage of your information in and to the United States and other countries.” Fortunately, it’s not too late to opt out.
Here’s how to do it: select the support button under the app’s settings, then click “Report bugs and send logs.” Then just type in: “PRIVACY – Please delete all my user data from your servers.”
The developer said its support team is currently swamped, but it will eventually get to your request.