Is FaceApp putting your privacy at risk? A local expert says not really

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A new viral social media trend could be putting your privacy at risk.

The FaceApp has millions of users uploading their selfies to see how they might look in 50 years but tech experts are now warning that users should be looking closely at the app’s privacy policy.

FaceApp was developed in St. Petersburg, Russia and its privacy page says the company can share user content and personal information with any business that’s a part of their company.

The app’s lengthy privacy policy is the cause for concern. One section reads that users grant them the right to “use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish translate, create derivative work from, distribute, publicly perform and display your user content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with 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.”

Eric Tamashasky with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit said while the language used in FaceApp’s terms of conditions is concerning, it’s not dissimilar to other popular social media apps privacy policies.

“The dangers of online apps existed before this app; they’ll exist after this app,” Tamashasky said. “You basically sign away your soul any time you download an app.”

Tamashasky said if individuals are already using social media, they shouldn’t be worried about this app specifically because your data’s probably already out there. He also said it’s not likely user’s personal information is transferred to Russia just because the company is based out of Russia either.

“FaceApp isn’t some new great new ‘oh my gosh look what we’re doing.’ It’s every app on every phone on every tablet that is absolutely decimating any expectation of privacy you may have thought you had,” Tamashasky said.

The FaceApp team released a statement to TechCrunch Wednesday saying that most images uploaded to the app are deleted from their servers within 48 hours and that they won’t be sharing user data with any third party companies.

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