FaceApp into the Future

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

18 July 2019


Last night, while partaking of my evening scroll through Instagram, I noticed several photos that seemed to place my following in a time machine, fast forwarding to the year 2069. While having a peek into the future might seem exciting at first, it might be more interesting to see if anything negative comes from the viral FaceApp Challenge. Some folks are wondering, How did I fall for that?  While others might read this article and still be able to sleep at night.

While the truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle of both perceptions, I’ve still got to wonder what privacy features we hold sacred anymore. While we wouldn’t have our social security numbers posted to our social media feeds, what’s the difference? If you have facial recognition locking your phone, which has full access to apps with personal information (i.e. Banking, credit score or money transferring apps), what else would a hacker need? Our cell phones hold more information, more accessibly than the fire-proof lockbox in the upstairs closet.

Looking into the company that developed FaceApp and uncovering its Russians roots, I immediately felt queasy. However, the lifespan of FaceApp imagery is more frightening than you may imagine. Even if FaceApp removes your images from their cloud immediately, if they’re posted publicly to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you’re essentially providing access to your phone for the next 50 years. I wouldn’t imagine a mind like mine or yours would figure out how to abuse this technology. But I’ve got to imagine someone has an idea.

Have you seen what you’ll look like in fifty years using FaceApp’s technology? If not, you may want to think twice before you share those hilarious photos with the world. It may seem like an innocent challenge when compared to, say, the fire challenge, but it could put your privacy at risk.

And why in the world would you be in a hurry to look 50 years older anyway?