TAMPA, Fla. — FaceApp has recently gone viral, and while it may be free to download, you could still be paying a price.
- FaceApp can age your photos
- The app owns your photos
- The app is developed in Russia; servers are in US
- RELATED: Tech Expert: FaceApp No Worse Than Facebook, Twitter
"You must understand that you are the product. That's why these applications are free," said Adam Sheffield, executive director of the Undercroft, a cybersecurity company.
Those terms and conditions you accept but might not ever read, that is where you find the catch.
Sheffield says often times these apps use your information to sell to third party advertisers.
However, with FaceApp, you grant the company, "A perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free … license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate … and display your user content."
In other words, they own your pictures, and can do whatever they want with them.
Gary Whitsett, executive director of the Core Program at SecureSet Cybersecurity Academy, says you cannot be sure what will be done with those photos, and that should raise red flags.
"People have gone on vacation and seen themselves on a billboard for a product they never would have advertised back home. That's disconcerting," said Whitsett.
FaceApp specifically has caused concern after people learned it was developed in Russia, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer even calling on the FBI to investigate the company due to its Russian ties.
App developers, though, say most photos are deleted after 48 hours, and the servers are here in the U.S.
So whether or not that is concerning to you, is your choice, but expert Sheffield says he would be careful.
"Whether it's making its way to nefarious hands or not, the idea that my information is outside my control, in an environment that I don't control, that just doesn't align with my personal views on privacy," said Sheffield.
If you have already used the app, there's not much you can do at this point except learn a lesson.
"Certainly the entertainment value needs to be weighed against the security value any time we're using an app like this. So just be aware of what's being done," said Whitsett.
And, of course, read the terms and conditions before downloading these types of apps moving forward.
Michael Brantley contributed to this story.