According to an official report from Google, South Africans generated more than 100 000 search queries for “Face App” on Wednesday, while only generating 50 000 for “Mandela Day”.

The internet has been bustling with intrigue over the two-year-old app, which uses artificial intelligence to create a rendering of what its users might look like in a few decades... if climate change allows for us to blow out our own 67 candles in the future.

The #faceappchallenge went viral as users posted their aged likenesses on social media, including some of our favourite celebrities.

It has even generated new memes...

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Lol ??

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However, amid all the excitement, privacy experts warned that the app (made in Russia) may pose a threat to users’ privacy as it stores photos on its servers, with US Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, appealing to the FBI to investigate the app. 

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But according to a report by Business Insider South Africa, security experts indicated that they had not yet detected "any unusual practices with the current version of FaceApp," while also adding the disclaimer that "users should be mindful of their lack of control when sharing photos and other personal data." 

In addition to digitally ageing our faces, this app can also add other features such as beards, makeup or change your hair colour, but the most common use for this app is that of simply seeing how you might one day age. 

Considering how we're generally always seeking ways to either prevent or reverse ageing, it's both odd and refreshing that many are embracing their virtual wrinkles and grey hairs. 

Is it because the ageing is only that? Just virtual, so we don't actually have to deal with the reality of ailing health, weaker limbs, and decreased productivity. Is it simply curiosity? Or is it just another one of those social media fads that help take our minds off the burden of adulting? 

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It's possibly all three depending on who's playing. 

This is why I asked four Joburg people what their thoughts are on the #faceappchallenge. 

Here's what they shared:

Black don't crack... like that

I feel like the filter plays on people’s fears of ageing. And if anything, for those with insecurities might delve deeper in what they don’t like of themselves already causing them to have more insecurities. It’s not accurate, though because black people don’t age like that. The filter itself pins your face to a white person who would generally age like that and makes you age as if you would if you were white.
Blue, 30

Bring on the influencer grannies of the future

I think this app has piqued so many people’s interest because of how it gives a sense that you have a window into the future. I personally haven’t used it, but seeing pouting, head-tilting and selfie-taking grannies seems like a very plausible future.
Pulane, 25

What if I never get to see my loved ones age in real life?

I tried the app and thought that it was really cool, especially how realistic the end result was. I think what I liked most was the fact that I got to see what other people close to me would look like if they had aged substantially, and the thought comforted me in a sense that if I were perhaps to die soon, I at least got a glimpse of what my loved one could possibly look like in their old age. However, after I heard that our personal information may be used by the app developers for their own purposes I was slightly worried and may have a bit of regret after using the app.
Miranda, 23

It's accurate, but our bodies are also going to change with age

I only used the age and beard feature of the FaceApp. I found it interesting because, although I do not think it is accurate, at least it gave me an idea of what type of “grandpa” I would be. I think it would be also cool if it would change our body shapes because obviously when you are older, your body changes. But overall, it's a perfect detection of people in their old age.
Sesona, 26

What are your thoughts? Do you think Face App has made us embrace ageing or is it just another social media trend we'll have forgotten by next week?


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