FaceApp and the Power of Fun

by | Jul 20, 2019 | Uncategorised

This week FaceApp is all the rage again – you upload your photo, then the app makes you look old. It does more than that, but the ageing photos are the ones I’m seeing a lot of. It’s fun, easy, and satisfies a universal curiousity we as humans have.

The unfortunate side of this is the complete loss of control and rights over any photos you send to the app. The mainstream media has been writing about this. The media are linking the app, its creators who are Russian, to historical scandals like Cambridge Analytica and election influence.

Interestingly, one has to wonder if the creators of the app were not Russian, would the media even care. Actually, we don’t need to wonder. Almost all social media apps have a similar privacy policy to FaceApp – anything you put on the site is no longer yours and can be used however the owners of the site wish.

But yes, when we upload photos to sites, it makes it easier for people to imitate us – we can understand your social circles from Facebook, your work and education from LinkedIn, your opinions on various topics from both FB and Linkedin. And that’s just two apps, add on to that Twitter, Instagram, blogs, podcasts, and more crumbs from your digital trail; it is certainly not too difficult to impersonate us.

Privacy is one side of this story, which many people are writing about. The other interesting piece for me is the power of fun in behaviour change. The app is simple, easy to use, and easy to share with others. If it weren’t, no one would use it.

The ability to share is critical to its success as it enables us to connect with other humans and laugh. This made me wonder – in every project we implement, every change we seek to create, should we ask “how can we make a part of this fun, shareable?”

Maybe FaceApp has nothing to do with photos, maybe it is about training the artificial intelligence behind it, but making me look old is a better story to sell. What is the story you are telling? How can you make it something people want to share?

Photo by Jamie Brown

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