In July, the whole digital community was flooded by the app making you look older — FaceApp.
Though the app was released in 2017, it’s only now, when it gains its true fame. For almost a month, the app was top installed in AppStore and Google Play. At first, the app became extremely popular in African countries, but then residents of Russia, the USA, and the number of European countries joined this aging game.
The number of FaceApp active users now equals to 86 million. The app has 28 filters (21 are available for free), not only the one that makes you look older.
But why is this boom about aging filter only?
In fact, FaceApp has other filters apart from the most hyped about. With the app, you can add a smile to your face, change the gender, look younger, and apply other facial changes. Initially, when the app was just released, it was similarly popular as it is now, but later the fuss about it faded away.
In 2019, the app again rocked all the tops. And the reasons for it are curiosity and influencers. How do things go viral on the Internet? They just need to be cool and fun. Actually, there’s no sacred secret of success, people are just curious. There are now hardly any user who didn’t apply the filter just for fun or even posted such a pic on Instagram.
Psychologists say that the reason for such a virality is our natural desire to live as long as possible, but we’re not going to touch upon it here. Speaking from the digital perspective, it’s influencers and celebrities the ones who gave it such a huge start. Carrie Underwood and Jonas Brothers are just to name a few. Do you still underestimate the power of influencer marketing?
The challenge is still viral on Instagram, and if you search it within Combin app by hashtags, you’ll see that the trend is still alive. Users age-filter their own photos or do the same with the photos of actors, singers, TV series characters, and other well-known people.
Another reason is that your old version looks rather realistic in the picture.
But how realistic is that actually?
Smart artificial neural networks are responsible for making an old image of us. They scan millions of photos and can predict what wrinkle should be here and there, how our face and hair will look like in approximately thirty years.
Doctors say that it’s impossible to predict how an individual will look in such a large period and it mainly depends on the lifestyle. But in general, the app does a great job and faces look rather realistic.
Data safety concerns
Many users and executives are concerned that the app collects private data and able to send them to third parties.
“By using the FaceApp, an enormous amount of data is collected. Such as photos, IP addresses, specific data from your smartphone, and cookies are also placed. European privacy legislation is therefore not applicable here. That is why we advise you to remove the FaceApp from your phone!” police of the Netherlands say.
The app functions are based on neural networks that have looked through millions of photos of young and old people and figured out why they look so different. FaceApp collects not only your facial features. The app requests your access to your Facebook profile (like the majority of other free apps). As the app is installed to your smartphone, it will have access to all your photos on that smartphone, even if they’ve never been uploaded on any kind of Internet source.
These data are mainly collected to improve user experience and show ads.
App representatives claim that their only interest in collecting your images and data is facial recognition software development. The Wireless Lab, the company which has developed the app, ensure that the majority of photos are deleted within 48 hours after uploading and the data are not given to Russia or its government.
So, why does FaceApp go viral?
Virality of the app is that FaceApp shows people other facets of themselves. Users are interested to see how they will look as they’ll get older or with the other gender. Plus, this now gives a chance to get noticed, attract new followers, and feel like you belong to this new and trendy community.