You Might Want to Rethink Trying That FaceApp Age Challenge

Credit: WKYC/Hollie Strano

They say that if you don’t like the weather then wait five minutes because it will probably change (at least, we say that here in New England) and so it is with trending Internet challenges like this new one that is taking social media by storm; the FaceApp Age Challenge. If you’ve been on social media in the last couple of days then you may have noticed that your friends are all suddenly looking 87. But should you try it?

The FaceAPP takes an image you give it and alters it through various filters to make you look different, You can change your smile, gender, make you more “attractive” and now it can alter your age – by a lot. The Internet is currently obsessed with posting images of how users will look 50 years from now and the images are both hilarious and weirdly accurate looking.

You might recall some controversy over the FaceApp when in 2017 it claimed to make people “hotter” but was actually making people whiter.

At the time, the Russian-based app CEO and founder, Yarsolav Goncharov told Tech Crunch that the app “uses neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photorealistic. For example, it can add a smile, change gender and age, or just make you more attractive.” Unfortunately, “attractive” apparently meant whiter and app users publicly accused FaceApp of racism.

What is giving people pause, however, is not the past accusations of racism but the risk of a Russian company getting access to American users’ privacy through a silly app.

The FaceApp privacy page states matter of factly that they “may share User Content and your information with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that FaceApp is part of, or that become part of that group (“Affiliates”). It should be noted that since FaceApp is a Russian-based business then it is likely that the businesses your private information could potentially be sold to are other Russian businesses, none of which are identified in the privacy policy, which can be found here.

In a time when privacy has become a hotly debated issue in nearly every aspect of our daily lives (social media, voting security, politics, etc.) it is worth stopping and asking yourself if looking at a fun image of what you might look like in 50 years is worth giving up your private information to anyone.

If you’re really concerned about your online privacy or if you want to know more about how to lock down your private information on websites and apps then you can check out The Federal Trade Commission where they have outlined smart ways to help you control your own information.

While it is super fun to see how age will affect your friends and celebrities, it might be best to let this trend pass. Besides, if you really want to know what you might look like in 50 years, just take a look at your relatives. The best indicator of how you’ll age – outside of your general health and daily habits – are your family genetics.

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