The hottest app being downloaded to smart phones around the nation is FaceApp. Developed by Wireless Lab, a Russian company, the app transforms photos of faces to look younger or older, make them smile or change their genders.
But, is downloading this — or any — app actually safe?
My short answer: absolutely not.
What actually happens when you download FaceApp
It’s pretty impossible to miss the aged faces being shared on Facebook … and the links reminding people that by downloading the app people are giving permission to use their likeness to a company that can do anything they please with the images.
It all boils down to the terms and conditions the user accepts when downloading the app.
Let’s look at what you’re actually agreeing to when you download the app.
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.
In short, when you download this app you’re licensing your image to Wireless Lab to use it in any way they choose without having to tell you, pay you, or get permission to re-license the image — forever.
You grant FaceApp consent to use the User Content, regardless of whether it includes an individual’s name, likeness, voice or persona, sufficient to indicate the individual’s identity. By using the Services, you agree that the User Content may be used for commercial purposes.
When you download the app, you are giving license to use not only the image, but also all the information you allow them to access, regardless of whether it identifies who you are. You also give the company permission to share this information and distribute it publicly, with no outlet for recourse by you.
User Content removed from the Services may continue to be stored by FaceApp, including, without limitation, in order to comply with certain legal obligations. FaceApp is not a backup service and you agree that you will not rely on the Services for the purposes of User Content backup or storage.
Regardless of whether you keep the images on the app, they are not legally bound to keep a copy for you of anything you post and you give them permission to continue to hold your image as long as they want. What does that mean? If you post something that has your face in it and a month or year or decade from now, you decide to run for political office or get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (or anything), Wireless Labs has the image on file to do whatever they like with it. In short, you never know if the image could be used against you.
You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the User Content modified by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms; (ii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of User Content you stylize on or through the Services; and (iii) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms in your jurisdiction.
This statement essentially says you agree you “own” any image you are posting, allowing the company to get a free pass to any legal issues that could arise. For example, say a user posts a photo of their friend rather than of themselves. The wording means that they won’t get into any trouble because you agreed it was OK.
So, I ask you — is it worth everything you’re giving up and the risks to download apps like this?
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