A wrinkle in the FaceApp fun: is the Russian-owned app safe?

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COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– Throwback Thursday has turned into wrinkle Wednesday because of the resurgence of photo editing app “FaceApp.”

From celebrities to the team at NBC4, social media has seen a surge in photos people are posting of their aged selves.

But is it safe? Cybersecurity expert C. Matt Curtin says no. However, he says no free app is, and he does not use any on his phone.

“If you take a look at the terms of service that come with most of these [apps] that are free, you are giving away literally everything and giving the ability to do anything they want in most cases,” said Curtin. “If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product, and that’s something that people just don’t want to pay attention to.”

FaceApp was launched in 2017 by developer Wireless Lab OOO based out of Saint-Petersburg, Russia, according to FaceApp’s terms page.

[FaceApp] seems to be from Russia, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only place that malicious or even nonfeasanced actors come from. Things that are based in the United States, for example, Facebook, have a long history of exploiting absolutely any information they can get without regard to the consequences of the people whose information is being harvested, packaged, resold, leaked, whatever.

C. Matt Curtin (Founder, Interhack Corporation)

Also on the FaceApp terms page is where app users agree to give FaceApp and other companies under the same ownership rights to users’ data to use how they please:

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. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile photo) will be visible to the public.

FaceApp Terms

There are ways to protect yourself though, according to CNBC. Users can decline the subscription offer, not grant access to camera rolls, and delete the app once you are finished editing photos.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.


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