FaceApp trends Messi
Messi's image edited by a tweep using the FaceApp Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Unless you have been living under a rock in the social media world over the past week, you will have seen your friends posting wrinkly old photos of themselves or of celebrities with the hashtag #FaceApp.

The app has gone viral in the region and across the globe this week; all thanks to a simple face mapping AI trick. Celebrities and regular folks alike have been sharing on Instagram and Twitter images of what their faces would look like in 60 years; and let's be honest, the 'old' selfies look extremely realistic.

What is it?

FaceApp is a mobile application designed to create realistic transformations of faces using various filters and features, the first version of which was released in 2017. The free version offers a limited choice of filters including the one that is going viral right now.

The feature that has tweeps going crazy for the app is the ‘old’ option where the app gives you three versions of your face – two young and one that looks really old and spookily probable.

While many users have been posting photos of their favourite celebrities and sportspeople with the filter, some celebrities and influencers have also jumped on the bandwagon. The collage created by a user (posted below) of the Indian cricket team is being shared widely across social media platforms.

'Old' versions of Bollywood actors Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor have garnered hundred of thousands of likes on Instagram, while Malayalam actor Hareesh Kanaran used his Faceapp post to pay a compliment to fellow actor Mammootty's seemingly eternal youth.

Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi posted her photo with nine million Instagram followers. She captioned it to say, "My potential photo when I’m 70 or 80 if God blesses us Inshallah. I see a wise and beautiful woman and on the timeline on her face, lessons, and knowledge that she passed to her grandchildren. By the way, the image 100% looks like my grandmother from my father’s side, ‘Alzahraa’. I look a lot like her when she was younger."

Security precautions
When downloading any new app, users get permission dialogue boxes on both iOS and Android. Read carefully what the permissions are that you click 'Allow' to.

Never use your social media account to use any third-party apps as that would allow the app more access to your data than it would have otherwise. For example, if you use Facebook to login to an app like FaceApp, they may be able to gain access to device details, or even behaviour patterns.

In all cases, any data you voluntarily or involuntarily supply can then be used by the app or sold as data.

Try your best to block access of apps into your gallery or personal files. For apps that don't require it, block access to camera and microphone as well. You may not think it matters, but these permissions hinder data privacy and security. If you feel your data is being misused, check the settings of the app in detail to check that security settings have not been compromised.

You can either take a photo through the app’s camera functionality or get one from your pre-existing gallery. However for security reasons, be wary of any app that asks for access into your personal gallery. FaceApp, like most apps, has a privacy page detailing how they use user content, read it before downloading the app.