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FaceApp says it won’t hold on to your face photos. Should you trust it?

If you use FaceApp, you’ve given its parent company permission to use your face photos for pretty much anything — even though the app-maker says it won’t use them for nefarious purposes.

FaceApp responded to concerns about its terms of service, which grants the company complete control over images run through its filter. The company told TechCrunch it typically deletes user photos within 48 hours and doesn’t share user data with third parties.

The face-altering app has taken social media by storm over the past few days, with people using the old age filter to make themselves look 50 years older than they actually are as part of the #OldFaceChallenge.

FaceApp processes your data in the cloud, not on your phone:

Lawyer Elizabeth Potts Weinstein brought attention to its terms of service on Twitter. Under section five for “User Content” the terms of service states that the app-maker can use photos run through its filter however it wants — including for ads — without paying you.

If you use #FaceApp you are giving them a license to use your photos, your name, your username, and your likeness for any purpose including commercial purposes (like on a billboard or internet ad) — see their Terms:

— Elizabeth Potts Weinstein (@ElizabethPW) July 17, 2019

“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.” 

The terms go on to say that, “By using the Services, you agree that the User Content may be used for commercial purposes.” 

By accepting these terms and conditions, users are essentially giving the app license to use your name, username and likeness for any purpose the app choose to use it for, including advertisements. 

A separate privacy policy states that, “We also may share your information as well as information from tools like cookies, log files, and device identifiers and location data, with third-party organizations that help us provide the Service to you (‘Service Providers’).”

FaceApp gave a detailed statement to TechCrunch, saying, “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.” 

They also told TechCrunch that, “We don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties.” 

Despite FaceApp’s assurances, the Democratic National Committee warned presidential campaigns not to use the app, according to CNN.

“This app allows users to perform different transformations on photos of people, such as aging the person in the picture. Unfortunately, this novelty is not without risk: FaceApp was developed by Russians,” DNC chief security officer Bob Lord wrote in the memo obtained by CNN.

Digital Trends reached out to FaceApp to ask what kind of commercial purposes user content could be used for and why information like location data and browsing history would be useful to share with third party affiliates, but we have not yet received a response. 

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