Chanda Veno

Chanda Veno

If you have noticed friends looking quite a bit older in your social media news feeds lately, don’t fret. You haven’t traveled to the future. FaceApp is just the latest fad phone application that allows users a glimpse of what they may look like as they age.

Developed more than two years ago by a Russian-based developer, the photo-editing app went viral earlier this week after folks began taking the “FaceApp Challenge” to preview their future appearance.

Ironically, it was celebrities — those Photoshopped beauties, who are usually attempting to appear younger — who launched this latest craze by making themselves look elderly.

While I can (kinda) see how some believe it is intriguing, quite frankly, I find it ridiculous. If I want to see what I look like 40 years down the road, I will gladly wait four decades to find out.

Of course, FaceApp’s sudden rise in popularity didn’t come without some wrinkles and a few gray hairs (puns intended). The image-altering app also triggered a flurry of debate over privacy concerns after it was discovered that photos were being uploaded to its servers for processing without users’ knowledge.

To its credit, FaceApp has since fixed the mistake and now asks for permission to upload photos to its servers for “processing and face transformation,” but it still raises questions about where user data and photos are stored.

According to FaceApp, it only uploads photos selected for editing and most images are deleted within 48 hours. Note the use of “most,” not “all.” Which begs the question: How do users know whether their photos are stored for longer than two days?

For the record, the company has stated it will remove data from its servers at users’ request. But is that enough?

In this online age, where information is shared so quickly and freely, I, for one, do not feel comfortable giving the app permission to “potentially” store my photos. Especially when the return product is a measly, crinkled, grayer version of my future self.

I believe in living each moment of this journey through life. I intend to wear my age as a badge of honor because behind every wrinkle, scar and silver strand is a story that no cellphone app can tell.

Chanda Veno is managing editor of The State Journal. She can be reached at chanda.veno@state-journal.com.

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