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There’s Something Troubling In Viral App FaceApp’s ‘Terms Of Use’ You Should Know

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FaceApp, which made headlines in 2017 over controversial racial filters, has once again gone viral. The popular app is the hottest trend for online users, letting folks “age” themselves with specific filters.

 

But before you download the app, you should take a peak at the application’s “terms of use.”

As highlighted by attorney Elizabeth Potts Weinstein on Tuesday, when you use FaceApp, you are giving the company “a license to use your photos, your name, your username, and your likeness for any purpose including commercial purposes (like on a billboard or internet ad).”

As noted by Forbes, FaceApp’s “terms of use” claim that users own their “user content” — which apparently means their actual faces — but the company “owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything they want with it ... in front of whoever they wish.”

Here’s a key portion of FaceApp’s “terms of use” under “user content” worth reading:

 

You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.

The company has racked up tons of data, too. Forbes noted that FaceApp is “top-ranked” on the iOS App Store across 121 countries.

There have also been concerns raised about FaceApp’s connections to Russia. According to a report from Forbes posted on Wednesday, the developer company is based in St. Petersburg, meaning “faces will be viewed and processed in Russia.” But submitted photos are reportedly being sent to a company server, which is based in America.

 

“A security researcher who goes by the pseudonym Elliot Alderson (real name Baptiste Robert) downloaded the app and checked where it was sending users' faces. The French cyber expert found FaceApp only took submitted photos — those that you want the software to transform — back up to a company server. And where's that server based? America, not Russia,” Forbes reported. “A cursory look at hosting records confirmed to Forbes that this was true, the servers for FaceApp.io were based in Amazon data centers in the U.S. And, as noted by Alderson, the app also uses third party code, and so will reach out to their servers, but again these are based in the U.S. and Australia.”

“Of course, given the developer company is based in St. Petersburg, the faces will be viewed and processed in Russia,” the outlet noted.

In 2017 FaceApp went viral for their racial filters, which were quickly pulled after complaints. Tech blog The Verge, for example, called the App’s capabilities “tantamount to a sort of digital blackface.”

“Popular AI-powered selfie program FaceApp was forced to pull new filters that allowed users to modify their pictures to look like different races, just hours after it launched it,” The Guardian reported at the time. "The app, which initially became famous for its features that let users edit images to look older or younger, or add a smile, launched the new filters around midday on Wednesday. They allowed a user to edit their image to fit one of four categories: Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Black.”

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