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SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

Dave McNary

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SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application.

FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender.

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The terms include this statement: “You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you.”

The union, in a member alert, noted Friday on its web site that the app’s privacy policy has attracted criticism recently.

“The terms of use include language granting them unrestricted permission to use any content you submit through the app (which includes your photos) in any manner and in any media they choose,” SAG-AFTRA noted. “This permission includes commercial uses, continues forever and cannot be revoked. They also have the right to use your name and likeness together with your content — and the use of your likeness is not contractually limited to just the photo you upload.”

The union warned that the terms of use represent an overly broad grant of rights, particularly for SAG-AFTRA members, who are public figures who make their living from the commercialization of their likenesses.

“It also puts SAG-AFTRA members at heightened risk of image-based abuse, such as in deepfakes,” the union said. “In addition to the broad grant of rights, the terms of use include language waiving your right to sue FaceApp for any possible claim. And experts have raised concerns that the app has access to more content and data on your phone than they disclose.”

SAG-AFTRA said members should always read the terms of use and privacy policy of any website or app, particularly if they are providing information or content,  to understand what rights are being granting.

“Until FaceApp dramatically improves its terms of services, we advise members to think very carefully and understand the risks before using its product,” the union concluded.

“SAG-AFTRA believes it is inappropriate for any app or internet company to adopt boilerplate terms of service language such as this that allows it to harvest, manipulate and exploit a user’s likeness for purposes unrelated to providing the applicable service without obtaining their meaningful consent.”

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