FaceApp seems fun, but experts warn against using it for a variety of reasons, foremost of which is privacy and safety.

Many netizens and social media users are having fun with an app that allows them to tweak their faces to make them look forty years older or younger, or with a different hairstyle, makeup, or anything they could think of. The viral app, FaceApp, seems “fun,” they think. Experts, however, warn against using it.

CNet noted that while FaceApp is fun, it’s not very safe to use it. Users who use the app without reading through its privacy policy and terms of service unwittingly give their faces away for free to an app maker from Russia -- a country where the creepy DeepFake AI used to give the Monalisa a life of its own was made.

According to FaceApp’s Terms of Service, those who use FaceApp will grant its makers the “perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license” to their user data which includes their names or usernames and of course, the photos of their faces.

FaceApp adds that users automatically give the app consent to use their user content even if their identity is disclosed. The terms also indicate that FaceApp users automatically give the app consent to use their information for commercial purposes.

Fun but not beneficial

Surely, these terms aren’t written for the benefit of FaceApp’s users. If anything, all that users get is fun, while FaceApp gets to keep their faces and information in the cloud. Experts speaking to The Telegraph said this could be dangerous. Alan Woodward, a privacy expert at the University of Surrey, said one of the easiest ways people can get information from people is to get them to do it for “fun.”

"If you’re not a paying customer, then you will become the product. There's no such thing as a free lunch," he said.

Jonathan Kewley, partner and co-head of technology at law firm Clifford Chance, takes it one step further, saying that the app could actually be in serious breach of consumer privacy, and all that it needed to do was to present itself as “fun.”

“People think it's fun,” Kewley said. “But Cambridge Analytica was displayed as a game, and that didn't turn out to be fun.”

What’s more, there’s the danger of getting the information leaked and fed into something dangerous like the aforementioned Deepfake AI. This AI can create eerily accurate videos of a person with just one photo, and the more photos are fed to it, the more accurate the videos become. Just imagine how dangerous a “leak” could be.