FaceApp becomes most downloaded app, rushing past Russian concerns
- FaceApp is topping the charts on Android and iOS app stores according to App Annie’s data.
- The AI photo editor has growing in popularity but also facing heat over its terms of service.
Data shows that the Russian artificial intelligence (AI) photo editor has overtaken other popular apps like TikTok and WhatsApp to rule the charts. It has been downloaded more than a 100 million times from the Google Play Store.
The #FaceAppChallenge and the #AgeChallenge have been trending across social media for the past two days. People are gleefully sharing photos of what they would look like if they were older. And, it’s not just photos of themselves that they’re sharing. Avid fans of the Indian cricket team took to Instagram and Twitter to share aged photos of all the players.
And the aging trend has developers launching copycat apps like ‘Aging Booth’ that jumped up 137 position in Apple’s iOS app store.
The question of data
The increasingly popularity of the app has also brought with it concerns over data usage. Just as the Indian government is concerned over Chinese mobile apps like Bytedance’s TikTok and Helo, the users in the US are paranoid about how a Russian made mobile could potentially misuse the photos it has collected.
A US Senator, Charles E. Schumer has written to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to look into the issue of how the data shared by citizens in the US could be misused.
Licence to use
Regardless of whether you live in the US or in India, the FaceApp’s terms of service stay the same. And, there are two particular points of the policy that have users worried about how their faces could be used without their consent.
The terms state that a user is the owner of all of his photos before and after processing on the app. Yet, FaceApp has the ‘license’ to do whatever it wants to do with the ‘user content’.
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.
Third party access
The second issue irking users is the fact that they can’t really do much about it once they’ve used the app. So, even if you delete your profile from FaceApp and even take the mobile app off your phone — Wireless Lab, FaceApp’s publishers, can use whatever ‘user content’ they have at a later date as well.
FaceApp, its Affiliates, or Service Providers may transfer information that we collect about you, including personal information across borders and from your country or jurisdiction to other countries or jurisdictions around the world. If you are located in the European Union or other regions with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law, please note that we may transfer information, including personal information, to a country and jurisdiction that does not have the same data protection laws as your jurisdiction.
Not a new story
But, here’s the thing — how is this any different from how Instagram and Facebook use your content?
Even on Instagram, when you upload a photo, the content is yours but you’re granting the photo sharing platform a pretty broad license to use your content — which includes sub licensing it to third parties — without giving you a piece of the profits, if any.
We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).
The same licensing rights are granted to TikTok as well. And, does one really need to say anything about Facebook goes about treating user data?
You or the owner of your User Content still own the copyright in User Content sent to us, but by submitting User Content via the Services, you hereby grant us an unconditional irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully transferable, perpetual worldwide licence to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, make derivative works of, publish and/or transmit, and/or distribute and to authorise other users of the Services and other third-parties to view, access, use, download, modify, adapt, reproduce, make derivative works of, publish and/or transmit your User Content in any format and on any platform, either now known or hereinafter invented.
The point is anything you share online comes with its risks. It is important to be aware of those risks and avoid them when possible.Dropping one player won’t make much of a difference to the larger issue of data sharing.
Players at large, including the Indian government, are already working on digital laws — like the GDPR in EU — to help regulate the digital space where users can be assured that their data is safe and liabilities are in place for when data regulations are abused.
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