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App icon seen on iOS and Android
App icon seen on iOS and Android
Developer(s)FaceApp Technology Limited
Initial releaseDecember 31, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-12-31)
Written inPython
Operating systemiOS, Android
TypeImage editing

FaceApp is a photo and video editing application for iOS and Android developed by FaceApp Technology Limited, a company based in Cyprus.[1] The app generates highly realistic transformations of human faces in photographs by using neural networks based on artificial intelligence.[2][3][4] The app can transform a face to make it smile, look younger, look older, or change gender.


FaceApp was launched on iOS in January 2017 and on Android in February 2017.[5][6] There are multiple options to manipulate the photo uploaded such as editor options of adding an impression, make-up, smiles, hair colors, hairstyles, glasses, age or beards. Filters, lens blur and backgrounds along with overlays, tattoos, and vignettes are also a part of the app.[7] The gender change transformations of FaceApp have attracted particular interest from the LGBT and transgender communities, due to their ability to realistically simulate the appearance of a person as the opposite gender.[8][9]


In 2019, FaceApp attracted criticism in both the press and on social media over the privacy of user data.[10][11][12] Among the concerns raised were allegations that FaceApp stored users' photos on their servers, and that their terms of use allowed them to use users' likenesses and photos for commercial purposes.[13] In response to questions, the company's founder, Yaroslav Goncharov, stated that user data and uploaded images were not being transferred to Russia but instead processed on servers running in the Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.[14] According to Goncharov, user photos were only stored on servers to save bandwidth when applying multiple filters, and were deleted shortly after being uploaded.[13] US senator Chuck Schumer expressed "serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it" and called for an FBI investigation into the app.[15] The specific section of the apps terms of service that drew concern were as follows:[16]

A "hot" transformation was available in the app in 2017 supposedly making its users appear more physically attractive, but this was accused of racism for lightening the skin color of black people and making them look more European. The feature was briefly renamed "spark" before being removed.[17][18] Founder and chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov apologised, describing the situation as "an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour"[17][18] and announcing that a "complete fix" was being worked on.[17][18] In August that year, FaceApp once again faced criticism when it featured "ethnicity filters" depicting "White", "Black", "Asian", and "Indian". The filters were immediately removed from the app.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FaceApp: About us". FaceApp.com. 2022-02-28. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  2. ^ en:Artificial_intelligence, oldid 916393721[circular reference]
  3. ^ Stark, Harold (25 April 2017). "Introducing FaceApp: The Year Of The Weird Selfies". Forbes. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  4. ^ Vincent, James (27 May 2019). "This app uses neural networks to put a smile on anybody's face". The Verge. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  5. ^ Vincent, James (15 February 2017). "Android users can now harness the power of neural networks to alter faces". The Verge. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  6. ^ Tan, Yvette (15 February 2017). "Viral selfie-morphing FaceApp launches on Android after huge iOS success". Mashable. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  7. ^ Karner, Jen (2019-07-18). "Try out all of the different filters on FaceApp". Android Central. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  8. ^ Cracker, Miz (5 May 2017). "The Magnetic and Emotionally Complex Power of FaceApp's Gender Filter". Slate. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  9. ^ Manning, Allee (1 May 2017). "FaceApp's gender swap is playing mind games with trans users". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  10. ^ "AI photo editor FaceApp goes viral again on iOS, raises questions about photo library access". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  11. ^ "The worrying thing that happens when you use the viral face aging app". The Independent. 2019-07-17. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  12. ^ Biggs, Tim (2019-07-17). "What's fact and what's fiction when it comes to FaceApp?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  13. ^ a b Carman, Ashley (2019-07-17). "FaceApp is back and so are privacy concerns". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-02-08.
  14. ^ "FaceApp responds to privacy concerns". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  15. ^ "US senator asks FBI to investigate FaceApp". 18 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  16. ^ Koetsier, John. "Viral App FaceApp Now Owns Access To More Than 150 Million People's Faces And Names". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  17. ^ a b c McGoogan, Cara (25 April 2017). "FaceApp: Viral selfie app in racism storm over 'hot mode' that lightens skin colour". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Cresci, Elena (25 April 2017). "FaceApp apologises for 'racist' filter that lightens users' skintone". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  19. ^ Wattles, Jackie (August 9, 2017). "FaceApp removing 'ethnicity filters' after outrage". CNNMoney. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  20. ^ "FaceApp sparks racist backlash for 'black', 'white' and 'Asian' filters". The Telegraph. August 9, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.

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