The popular FaceApp mobile app is in hot water due to concerns that it could pose privacy and security risks to millions of users. If you didn’t know already, FaceApp allows you to improve your selfie or have fun with it by changing your gender or age. The app claims to use “advanced neural portrait editing technology” to do the trick.
While editing your selfie photo to make it look five decades older might seem innocuous or harmless, some politicians and security experts are worried that FaceApp could “could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens.” FaceApp is made by a Russian company named Wireless Lab, and US Senator Chuck Schumer is concerned that the Russian government could access personal data uploaded by FaceApp users.
Upon installing FaceApp, users are met with this message: “Each photo you select for editing will be uploaded to our servers for image processing and face transformation.” However, the app developer Wireless Lab says that photos are uploaded to Amazon and Google cloud servers, and not in any server in Russia.
The company also claims that it doesn’t upload images other than the ones that the user selects for uploading, and that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date. Wireless Lab also said that photos are stored temporarily to optimize performance and traffic (ensuring that users don’t upload photos repeatedly) and that they don’t sell or share user data with third parties.
The FaceApp developer further said that they honor requests from users to delete their data but cautioned that their support team is currently “overloaded” and that data deletion requests may take some time to complete.
Nevertheless, if you’re worried about your photos and personal data falling into the wrong hands, here is how to delete your FaceApp data for good:
Step 1: In FaceApp, go to Settings by tapping the cog on the upper-left portion.
Step 2: Click “Report bug and send logs.”
Step 3: Write your data deletion request. Example: “Please delete my data because I’m concerned about my privacy.” Tap “Report” to send your request.
That’s it! Just wait for FaceApp to delete your data from their servers, and then uninstall the app.