Have You Used FaceApp? Then You Just Gave A Russian Company Permission To Use All Of Your Old Facebook Photos

A person using a cell phone.
Karolina Grabowska / Pixabay

People across the world are using FaceApp to get a glimpse of what they would look like decades in the future or the past, but what they may not realize is that by doing so they are giving a Russian company full rights to use all of their old Facebook photos.

The app has gained viral popularity across Facebook as people use it to make themselves look much older or much younger, and even a number of celebrities are joining on in the trend. As Fox 11 reported, more than 1 million users have downloaded the FaceApp from GooglePlay and it has surged to the No. 1 spot in the Apple Store’s “Photo and Video” app section.

But people in a hurry to transform themselves in time may not be taking care to read the fine print on FaceApp. As the report noted, the terms on conditions allow a Russian company known as Wireless Lab permission to use any of your old Facebook photos.

As lawyer Elizabeth Potts Weinstein warned on Twitter, people who use FaceApp to generate a funny image of themselves might later find one of their Facebook photos is being used on a billboard advertisement in Russia or splashed across the internet — with no recourse for the person whose picture is being used.

FaceApp has generated enough concern that New York Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Trade Commission asking them to investigate the app and whether there might be a connection to the Russian government.

“In particular, FaceApp’s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of U.S. citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign governments,” he wrote.

“I ask that the FBI assess whether the personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian government, or entities with ties to the Russian government.”

Concerns are high after the 2016 election cycle when shadowy company Cambridge Analytica used a Facebook app to harvest personal data that was then used to target political advertisements. The scandal led to a major drop in Facebook’s stock price and led the company to make a series of security changes.

Loading...

There is some pushing back against the warnings, however. French security researcher Robert Baptiste told The Daily Beast that while the company’s privacy policy may be “bad,” it is not unusual among companies that produce apps like FaceApp.