Warnings over FaceApp and the privacy of your photos

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You would have seen your social media fill up with images of your mates looking old af all of a sudden and that's because of an app called FaceApp.

Heaps of celebs have jumped on it and by Wednesday this week it was the top trending free offering in Apple's App Store. FaceApp has altered photos for more than 80 million users since its 2017 release.

After downloading the app for free, you can upload of take photos and have 21 editing options to choose from. The most common one that's being used is the one that makes people look older.

FaceApp differs from other photo-editing applications because it uses artificial intelligence to alter the photo, instead of slapping a filter on top of it.

The app is owned by Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has legal jurisdiction in Santa Clara County, California, according to its privacy terms.

The thing is...people are getting a little worried how much the company can use your data. 

Under its privacy terms it can collect:

• Any photos or other content that is uploaded and posted.

• Information on the websites you visit and how you use the app, which the terms say doesn't identify individual users.

• Cookies and data that identifies your device to share with third-party advertisers to deliver targeted advertising to your device.

• Your Web request, IP address, browser type, referring/exit pages and URLs, number of clicks and how you interact with links on the app, domain names, landing pages, pages you view, what emails you open every time you access the FaceApp application or website.

• Metadata.

Founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov told TechCrunch that FaceApp uses Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud to store uploaded photos. The company said in a statement that this is used to evaluate performance and traffic, and that most images are deleted from the servers within 48 hours, TechCrunh reported yesterday.

But even if you delete content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, according to its privacy terms. FaceApp also says it can't guarantee your data or information is secure. The company can share your information with its other affiliated companies and third-party advertisers, which aren't disclosed in the privacy terms.

The company said in its statement that users who want to remove their data from FaceApp can make the request through the app: Click "Settings," then "Support," then "Report a bug" with "privacy" in the subject line.

"Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority," the company statement read.

The company also said it doesn't sell or share any user data with any third parties, which contradicts its privacy terms on the FaceApp website.