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AI-based FaceApp issues clarification on privacy concerns around the app

Russian photo editor FaceApp has now responded with a clarification on the privacy controversy around uploading users’ photos to the cloud without alerting them, and overriding access to camera roll in settings on iOS.

Rashi Varshney
18th Jul 2019
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AI-powered photo editor FaceApp, which is currently going viral on social media with its #FaceAppChallenge also raised some privacy concerns. The Russian app responded with a clarification on the privacy controversy around uploading users’ photos to the cloud without alerting them, and overriding access to camera roll in settings on iOS.


In a statement, FaceApp said that it is receiving a lot of inquiries regarding their privacy policy and therefore it is providing a few following points that explain the basics:


  • FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud and only upload a photo selected by a user for editing.


"We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud."


  • "We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date."


  • "We accept requests from users for removing all their data from our servers. Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority. For the fastest processing, we recommend sending the requests from the FaceApp mobile app using “Settings->Support->Report a bug” with the word “privacy” in the subject line. We are working on the better UI for that."


  • All FaceApp features are available without logging in, and you can log in only from the settings screen. As a result, 99 percent of its users don’t log in; therefore, the app does not have access to any data that could identify a person.


"We don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties."


  • Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia.


  • "Additionally, we’d like to comment on one of the most common concerns: all pictures from the gallery are uploaded to our servers after a user grants access to the photos (for example, https://twitter.com/joshuanozzi/status/1150961777548701696). We don’t do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet."


Irrespective of the questions raised by seasoned users, FaceApp continues to grip social media. It has already crossed 100 million downloads on Google Play Store, and users cannot seem to get enough.


According to a Forbes report, the viral app already has access to more than 150 million names and faces.



(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)




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