FaceApp, the app that lets people see how they’ll age, may be a social media sensation, but it has raised security concerns about what the Russian-based developer behind it may be doing with people’s photos.
On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer wrote a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into whether “personal data uploaded by millions of Americans onto FaceApp may be finding its way into the hands of the Russian Government."
The Democratic National Committee has also asked the party’s presidential campaigns not to use FaceApp, since it was created by Russians.
The company behind FaceApp has released a statement saying "user data is not transferred to Russia" and "we don't sell or share any user data with any third parties.”
However, the company's terms of service asks users to agree to the "transfer and storage of your information in and to the United States and other countries.”
It also states that people who use the app give the company “irrevocable” and “royalty-free” permission to use their pictures and data, even in ads for FaceApp. Despite that, FaceApp says its server deletes most photos after two days.
FaceApp is currently the top performing app on iPhones and Androids, with more than 100 million downloads, and has become a sensation, thanks in part to the raft of celebrities who’ve used it.
NBC News technology correspondent Jacob Ward says the craze may come at a cost.
"What we are all doing by posting our photos to apps like this is essentially creating a surveillance technology industry that's going to be worth billions of dollars and will always know what you look like,” he said.
Some privacy experts, however, say that FaceApp may actually acquire less information than other companies, like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
FaceApp does allow users to remover their data.
Here's how to do it:
On the app, go to the settings icon, which looks like a small gear, and then tap “Support.”
Then, hit “Report bugs and send logs.” After that, you’ll see a screen with the word “Bug” on top.
There, you should type in “PRIVACY – Please delete all my user data from your servers.”
FaceApp says its support team is currently overloaded, but will eventually get to the request.