Using Face App is a bad idea but it’s a teachable moment about all social media
Bottom Line: By the beginning of the day yesterday I was hearing about the new craze started by FaceApp that allowed you to see what you’d look like when you’re older. By the middle of the day I heard about how it was a Russian company and perhaps shouldn’t be trusted. By the time I got around to working on this story I realized how little most people realize about what they’re already doing on social media. I’ll explain.
First, there’s a lot about pop culture that makes me go hmm... But independent of the Russian thing – why anyone wants to share pictures of what they’d theoretically look like when they’re old is one I really don’t understand. Here we are in the age of vanity where record numbers of people are spending record amounts of money to try to look younger and now this? But hey, whatever does it for you. You could do worse, like going too far with plastic surgery and turning into looking like an extra-terrestrial like creature which has become the Hollywood norm for those over 60. I digressed. Back to the app.
So yes, if you use FaceApp to age yourself you’re granting permission to a Russian company to have ownership of the pictures stored on their server. Yes, they could use those images however they see fit. Yes, in the age of facial ID for security settings on digital devices that might be something that someone with ill-intent might be able to use to compromise you or even steal your identity online if they’re devious and savvy enough. Btw, the facial ID thing hasn’t been reported elsewhere best that I’m aware – you’re welcome for me putting that one on your radar. But here’s the thing. The only thing that’s different about FaceApp, and say Facebook, is that Facebook is based in the US and FaceApp is based in Russia.
Other than the legal teams at social media companies, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person whose read through user agreements for social media services. Anyway, if you use any you’ve agreed that any images you upload to their platforms are owned by them. Remember, when you’re not paying for a service, you’re the product. Now, it’s likely not good business for Facebook, for example, to randomly use your images for their own purposes but they could. You granted them that permission. Along with every other major social platform in the US.
At that point the only question is whether you trust Zuckerberg and company more than the random Russians on the back end of FaceApp.