Is the new viral faceapp challenge a danger?

by Sep 4, 2020

Throughout the history of social media there’s been online challenges that have come and go. From the Ice Bucket challenge that was used to raise awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) to the Mannequin challenge which was done just for fun. 

Viral Challenges gone wrong

Some viral challenges have been shown to be dangerous and we’ve read reports of people injuring themselves during the Ice Bucket challenge simply by dropping heavy water laden tubs (see video below) on their heads or the Tide Pod challenge which saw numerous kids being rushed to the ER for treatment after swallowing those poisonous laundry pods. 

Credit: Max Funke Youtube Page

Faceapp Challenge

A new challenge that has come up is the Faceapp challenge. The faceapp app has already received a 4.5 star rating and users can select a photo from their photo gallery and alter the picture using its filters. To create the old age photos as well as any other filtered images, the app uses artificial intelligence, which allows it to edit the photo and create the resulting image. The faceapp challenge is to use the app and upload an image of what you might look like as a senior citizen. Millions of users and celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon. 

Credit Kevin Hart Twitter

What could go wrong?

Now the challenge and the app may seem innocent enough and even cute at times. The only issue that the developers now have access to the identity and faces on millions of users. This might not be an issue however should that information get hacked then those hackers would also get access to that. Facial recognition is now used in a myriad of ways. iPhone X and Samsung S9 users use it to unlock their phones and some airports use facial matching to grant access through immigration gates. Some bank ATMs also use facial recognition as a 3rd form of authentication that runs in the background. Deepface (by Facebook) and Facenet (by Google) use this tech to verify users. By granting access to our faces and identities we may not have only compromised our privacy but also confidentiality. 

Exercise caution online

Our lives both online and offline are very much intertwined these days. Just as we would be careful when going out in, we should always aim to exercise caution online.