If you have not been on Mars on vacation, you have surely seen the stir with FaceApp. But beware: privacy in social networks is not a game. If you have been minimally connected to the Internet in recent weeks, you will have at some time encountered FaceApp, a social app that has gone viral in a matter of hours by transforming the face of any Facebook user into that of a person from the Senior citizens with impressive realism. It is not a matter of being alarmist or of painting the most negative things of what they are, but it is important to understand to what extent our actions in the networks have an impact – although that impact is usually more than camouflaged and presented in conditions of use that We approve lightly.
What is the problem with FaceApp?
FaceApp works well, it is an app that is fantastically well designed and the result is impressive. If we add to this that the main feature, the one that hooks, is free … you have the perfect viral storm for social networks to smoke with captures of the ” app that makes you old”.
But under the guise of a playful and quite innocuous application, which uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to generate an image of ourselves with 30 more years, there is much to scratch.
Within these conditions of use that we accept without looking at all, we find some quite delicate aspects. The first is that we are transferring our information and images to Wireless Lab (the developers of the invention). By using FaceApp, we are granting permission to them and their affiliates (whoever they are) to use our data and photos for commercial purposes.
In other words: do not be surprised if your photo appears on a banner of any product within a while. The owner company reserves the right to “reproduce, modify, adapt and publish” your image without seeing a penny and in perpetuity.
Who is Wireless Lab and what is your position in this regard?
The visible face of the company is Yaroslav Goncharov, a graduate in Physics and Mathematics from the public university of St. Petersburg. He then worked for Microsoft for 2 years until he founded his own company (SPB Software), which was acquired by Yandex. That is a Russian company.
This issue is not funny to Americans. So much so that the suspicion that all this could be used to improve the facial recognition tools used by the Russian government has slipped.
Goncharov defends himself by saying that this is false. It even goes further and explains that never more images are used than those uploaded by the app and that, in no case, other photographs are accessed from the gallery of the terminal.
Most of these photos are stored for 48 hours to prevent the user from having to saturate the network again by loading the same image several times. It does not specify in which cases they remain for a longer period or what is that period.
Even so, they swear that they will not sell the data to third parties and that their monetization comes exclusively through advertising and subscriptions to FaceApp Pro (€ 3.99 per month or € 19.99 per year); but they reserve the right, with what they can do, it seems what you think.
How to erase my FaceApp data?
Well, unfortunately, it is not as simple as deleting the application. Once you have downloaded the application and accepted the conditions, you have given your approval to make use of them.
Still, with all this stir, they have had to make it a little easier. From the settings within the application (the classic gear icon) we can access the assistance. Click on the envelope icon and go to the last option: ” Request cloud data removal “.A window will open notifying you that the deletion of your data from the company’s servers has been requested. It will not be automatic: the person responsible for Wireless Lab points out that they are saturated with requests.
Social networks are not a game
Surely you have already read that phrase that says: ” If something is free on the Internet, it is that the product is you .” Our data as a user, those of our company and, I do not even want to tell you, those of our customers, must be shielded to any test. The European GDPR is designed to offer a more secure legal framework and sanctions are no joke.
The case of FaceApp has been very noticeable, but we have others that have gone almost unnoticed although they are equally serious. For example, this month we learned that Facebook injects metadata into your images, so you can keep track of them even outside the social network.
In social networks, all the attractive tools contain some risks that we must know and evaluate, both personally and as responsible for an online store. In short: do not enter the rag of anything until you are clear on what you are committed to.