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Finding a wrinkle in the app that took the world by storm

July 24, 2019

The trending app.
Unless you’ve been hiding behind an avalanche, you probably heard of FaceApp. Chances are you even downloaded the latest tech update on your phone. The app that’s the antithesis of botox gives users a sneak peek into an altered version of their current self. With a millennial mindset at an all time high, this trend has taken the world by storm.
 
FaceApp is the latest internet sensation that gives users a 30-60 year preview of their face, among other hybrid face changing technology. Users simply take or upload a photo from their phone and the app’s algorithms do the rest. Using facial recognition, it alters your photos, creating some of the coolest, freakiest episodes that would rival a ‘Back to the Future’ comeback.
 
With nothing short of a time capsule ‘What’s your FaceApp photo? has become the popular vernacular on social media, with a whopping 1.8 MM new users per day!
 

A visual generation.
Millennials are fast. It takes a click to reveal and they want nothing else but to click it NOW. While you can’t nix terms and conditions when downloading an app, you DON’T need to allow access to your entire photo album. So accustomed to click and proceed, the young generation of users all click ‘allow’ without considering the repercussions or questioning the need. Another thing about millennials is that they (almost) never read the fine print. They adore the caption. Are psyched by the blurb. But the fine print? That’s for the 55+ year old male that’s closer to retiring than downloading an app.
 

Viral today. Virus tomorrow.
With the FaceApp trend, the sudden uproar has set off quite some alarm bells. Just how much access is too much and what do we not know about privacy? It turns out we chose to risk security breaches by skipping the fine print. FaceApp is owned by Wireless Lab, the Russian firm that has included some disturbing conditions to its legally binding contract. The company can place a wrinkled version of your face across a billboard and you’d have no legal recourse at all.
 
With FaceApp requiring access to your photo stream, facial recognition combined with your mobile database can land in the hands of the Russian developers (read: hackers) who created the app. That’s quite a bit of queasy in the land of megabytes and gigabytes. Enough to worry users and make them wish they read the little words.


A military concern.
A young private in the army may want to dabble with the new app. Giving access to his photo album may mean disclosing too much information to the wrong people. Jeopardizing more than just privacy, it prompted Capt. Karoline Foot to urge troops to exercise caution when downloading apps. As former UN Ambassador, Niki Haley, writes: “Those using the aging FaceApp, please be warned. Once you grant access you’re giving them access to all of your contacts and information.”

Facing the fine print.
With the FaceApp concern growing, the trend is still at an all time global high. The company
claims it ‘can’t ensure security or guarantee that information or service cannot be accessed, disclosed or destroyed.’ That’s not the least bit comforting, but the fine print doesn’t lie.
 
An app that spreads some joy? That’s a welcome reprieve from the ordinary, but it is crucial for users to know what they're signing up for. Next time you see the tiny text, reach for your reading glasses. Copy is everywhere and if it isn’t making a statement, it’s just being informative.
 
You’ll thank me later,  

 

Sarah

 

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