August 20, 2019

No, FaceApp Isn't an Evil Russian Plot

“Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened old self on the internet and everyone laughs uproariously. You get a small surge of dopamine from gathering a few online likes before existential ennui sets in once again. Challenge completed.

On Monday, as the #faceappchallenge went viral, Joshua Nozzi, a software developer, warned people to “BE CAREFUL WITH FACEAPP….it immediately uploads your photos without asking, whether you chose one or not”. Some media outlets picked this claim up and privacy concerns about the app began to mount.

Concern escalated further when people started to point out that FaceApp is Russian. “The app that you’re willingly giving all your facial data to says the company’s location is in Saint-Petersburg, Russia,” tweeted the New York Times’s Charlie Warzel. And we all know what those Russians are like, don’t we? They want to harvest your data for nefarious purposes. Unlike American techies, of course. Who are always deeply respectful when it comes to personal data, and only use your private information to make the world a better, more connected, place.”

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