For anyone who’s ever wondered what they’ll look like in fifty years, now you have your answer. Just as Snapchat’s filter allows people to see younger versions of themselves, FaceApp’s “Age” filter has users aging themselves once again, this time to be older.
Over the last few days, FaceApp users have been sharing their “aged” photos in hilarious memes across social media. These posts are often hashtagged with #FaceApp or #FaceAppChallenge. There have also been several other iterations of the meme which roast the sudden popularity of the app.
— nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) July 17, 2019
What’s most surprising about this recent viral trend is that there wasn’t much news about FaceApp until recently. In fact, according to BroBible, “The app went from complete obscurity to one of the most popular and downloaded apps in the iTunes App Store and on Android,” all in the span of a few days. It begs the question, why the sudden popularity?
What is FaceApp?
FaceApp, available to both iOS and Android users, claims to be “the most advanced neural portrait editing technology.” It’s a “state of the art” photo-editing app powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The app is extremely simple to use. After uploading a photo, users have the option to change hair color and style, add a smile, and most notably, “meet their future self”. As of July 2019, the aging feature appears to be the most popular and widely-memed FaceApp filter.
FaceApp Privacy Concerns
A web developer’s tweet set off minor internet panic when he warned that FaceApp could be taking all the photos from users’ phones without user permission and uploading them to its servers in Russia.
So, the Face App everyone is using to age themselves?
Developed and originated from Russia.
[puts on his aluminum foil hat]
And you are all worried about facial recognition in public places. Just keep submitting! pic.twitter.com/yOvZtiGLwK
— Vexed Patriach (@VexedPatriarch) July 16, 2019
According to Forbes, the app does have the potential AND privilege to automatically download a user’s photos – ALL of their photos. Whether that’s in fact happening, is a different story.
Seeing as the developer’s company is based in St. Petersburg, Russia it’s true that uploaded faces will be viewed and processed in Russia. However, a security researcher who goes by the pseudonym Elliot Alderson recently tweeted that the FaceApp only takes submitted photos – those that you use the software to transform.
As far as I can see, there is no reason to be concerned with the current version available on the store. I don’t see why the nationality of the developers is an issue. There is also some legit devs in Russia.
— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) July 17, 2019
Be Safe, Be Smart