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FaceApp Addresses Privacy Concerns

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  • Social media users are downloading a popular Russian-owned app called FaceApp to alter their photos with features like its aging filer.
  • However, many have raised concerns about the app’s privacy policies and terms of service, accusing the company of collecting user data to sell to third parties or share with Russia.
  • The company released a statement saying it does not do either of those things. 
  • However, other concerns about the app and what it specifically does with user data still exist. 

FaceApp Challenge Goes Viral

FaceApp responded Wednesday to users who expressed concerns about the app’s privacy policy.

FaceApp is a Russian app that uses artificial intelligence to alter photos of people’s faces. The app is two years old, but a recent FaceApp challenge has prompted the app to trend again. Users are posting photos of themselves with an aging filter that adds a few decades of wrinkles to their faces. 

The trend has caught on with celebrities, many of whom have posted their own photos. Drake showed us what promo for his farewell tour might look like.

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Best caption wins ovo tickets

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The Jonas Brothers gave us a glimpse of the year 3000.

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When you take a trip to the Year 3000.

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Scooter Braun showed the damage a Taylor Swift controversy might do to your skin.

Here’s what Lil Nas X might look like after severe back pain stops him from taking his horse down the old town road.

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feeling cute might delete later 😌

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We also got a peek of what Piers Morgan might look like in a month or so.

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I need a break.

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Issues About Privacy Policy Raised

Celebrity photos and jokes aside, there is actually a big controversy surrounding FaceApp and the access it has to information on users’ phones. Many voiced their concerns on Twitter, though much of the fears turned out to be speculation. 

Developer Joshua Nozzi said that he believed the app might be “uploading all your photos.”

Twitter @JoshuaNozzi.

Others brought up the app’s Russian ownership.

Meanwhile, some shared concerns about the vague language in the privacy policy.

These concerns lead users to dig through the app’s privacy policy and terms of service to see what some potential red flags could be. One line in particular in the terms of service has troubled users. 

“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 policy reads. 

This essentially means that the app can take your photos and use them on their own. Many say that this could mean content could get used for marketing purposes. 

Another line in the privacy policy implies that the app can look at a user’s browser history.

“We use third-party analytics tools to help us measure traffic and usage trends for the Service,” the policy states. “These tools collect information sent by your device or our Service, including the web pages you visit, add-ons, and other information that assists us in improving the Service.”

The policy also says that while it will not sell your data to third parties, it can “share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners.”

FaceApp Addresses Concerns

FaceApp gave a statement to TechCrunch on Wednesday about some of the app’s policies to clarify some of the rumors spreading online.

FaceApp said that photos are processed in the cloud, but it debunked Nozzi’s theory that it was downloading all photos from your camera roll.

“FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud,” their statement reads. “We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud.”

At the bottom of the statement, they linked to Nozzi’s tweet, which has now been deleted, specifically to drive their point home.

“We don’t do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet.”

The statement went on to say: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”

The statement said that the company accepts requests from users to remove all their data from its servers. They also added that the app’s features are available without logging in and said that 99% of users don’t log in, meaning that in most cases, they don’t have access to any data that could identify a person.

In its final points, the company confirmed that it does not sell data to third parties, and does not transfer information to Russia. 

Doubts Remain

Many don’t think the statement answered enough questions. For example, it did not address the app’s right to use your data, which is mentioned in the terms of service, or other marketing concerns. 

However, outlets like the Independent have noted that this is “fairly standard within such apps.”

Concerns about the app’s vague privacy policy also still exist. Many have noted that the policy has not been updated since the app came out in 2017.  FaceApp’s statement still did not fully say what the app can actually do with photos uploaded to it. 

Back in 2017, the chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, David Vaile, spoke to the Australia Broadcasting Company about this lack of transparency.

“They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you,” Vaile said. “It is impossible to tell from this what happens when you upload it, that is the problem. The licence is so lax.”

See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Mashable) (Tech Crunch)

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Triller Sues H3 Podcast for $50 Million Over Jake Paul Vs. Ben Askren Fight

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  • Triller is suing Ethan and Hila Klein’s H3 Podcast for $50 million, alleging that the YouTubers unlawfully broadcasted its boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren on their show.
  • The video-sharing platform previously filed a larger lawsuit against several outlets, including H3 Productions, for the same reason, but a court dropped the majority of the defendants from that suit, still giving room for Triller to refile against each platform individually. 
  • Triller did not specifically cite when the H3 Podcast aired the fight; however, Ethan gave a statement to Rogue Rocket claiming his utilization of clips from the event fall under fair use copyright laws.
  • “It’s a huge media company trying to suppress fair use and undo everything we worked for [with the] Matt Hoss case,” he said, referencing a landmark fair use case he previously won.

H3 Podcast Sued for $50 Million

Video sharing and streaming platform Triller filed a $50 million lawsuit against the H3 Podcast on Monday, accusing the show of unlawfully airing its April 17 boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren.

H3 Productions, owned by YouTubers Ethan and Hila Klein, was previously included in a massive lawsuit Triller filed against a number of platforms for the same reason; however, a court dismissed all but one of the defendants, FilmDaily.com, from that case. The court did give Triller room to refile against each outlet individually, prompting this new suit against H3. 

The podcast is being accused of copyright infringement, conversion, violations of the Federal Communications Act, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, according to the complaint filed in the Central District of California

Ethan Klein previously denied broadcasting the fight but did admit to watching an already available pirated link.

What’s in the Complaint?

Triller said that H3 “acted knowingly, willfully, unlawfully and with blatant disregard to Plaintiff’s copyright in the Broadcast by uploading” the boxing match to YouTube. The company claims it “never authorized its respective copying, downloading, uploading, public display and/or distribution of the Broadcast,” but that H3 “continues to engage—and unjustly benefit—from its infringing conduct.”

“Defendant’s calculated and reprehensible infringement, theft, and other unlawful acts—committed in knowing violation of the law—has resulted in damages suffered by Plaintiff in excess of $50,000,000.00, by stealing and diverting upwards of 1,000,000 unique viewers of the illegal and unauthorized viewings of the Broadcast from Plaintiff,” the complaint says. 

The lawsuit does not specify when H3 aired the fight, but on an April 22 episode of the H3 Podcast, Ethan did briefly play the knockout from the event while giving commentary. During an April 25 episode of H3 After Dark, Ethan and Hila also played clips of Pete Davidson hosting the showdown. Neither episode aired the entirety of the event.

Ethan Klein Responds To Complaint

“It’s fair use,” Ethan said in a statement to Rogue Rocket. “Read their complaint. It’s 1mil x 50 dollars per [view.] It’s literally a fair use lawsuit and anything else is just a distortion.”

The couple previously won a landmark fair use case against YouTuber Matt Hoss. That case stemmed from the Kleins using footage from one of Hoss’ videos to make their own video response and commentary. Hoss argued this was copyright infringement. A judge ultimately sided with the Kleins, who believe Triller is aiming to reverse the progress their previous case made.

“It’s a huge media company trying to suppress fair use and undo everything we worked for [with the] Matt Hoss case,” Ethan said.

Still, a Triller spokesperson gave a comment to Insider saying the company is “confident” in its legal pursuits. 

“We are confident H3 will be settling and paying a substantial penalty (in the millions) in order to avoid the $50 million+ liability,” the spokesperson said. “People can try to joke about it, but it is stealing, no ifs, ands or buts about it.”

See what others are saying: (Insider) (Torrent Freak)

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James Charles Breaks Silence Over Lawsuit From Former Employee

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  • YouTuber James Charles posted a video on Monday claiming he has been dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee for two years.
  • He said her claims are not true, but he is refusing to settle for the “hundreds of thousands of dollars” she is asking for because he feels he is being “blackmailed.”
  • He claims the former employee is making “defamatory” allegations about him to the press in an attempt to push him to settle for a higher amount.
  • Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge later posted a tweet suggesting she is working on the story and that it will come out “soon.”

James Charles Addresses Lawsuit

Beauty influencer James Charles posted a seven-minute-long video on Monday claiming he has been dealing with a wrongful termination lawsuit from a former employee for two years and feels cornered into speaking out about the situation. 

James, who has been taking a social media break for the last several weeks following a series of sexual misconduct allegations, broke his silence to share his side of the story. He said this is his first time publicly speaking about the matter because the litigation is ongoing. However, he feels he has to speak out now because he says that the former employee is speaking negatively about him to the press and he feels he is being “blackmailed.” 

Reports have identified this former employee as Kelly Rocklein. James said he hired her first as an editor and then promoted her to a producer with a salary of $72,000 a year, but she was let go after six months. He says the allegations in the lawsuit he filed are false. 

“It basically alleges that she was wrongfully terminated, overworked, and underpaid, all of which are not true,” he said before adding that to him, his employees are “family.”

According to James, the suit is worth far more than lost wages and totals hundreds of thousands of dollars. While he claimed these kinds of suits are common in the entertainment industry, he said they rarely make it to court because they are so long and expensive and usually result in a settlement. James, however, said he refuses to settle. 

James Says He is Being Pressured to Settle

James said he was contacted to give a comment for an upcoming article about what it is like to work for him. He claimed the former employee was making “defamatory” and ridiculous comments about him, which he believes are an attempt to pressure him into a higher settlement offer. 

“These claims range everything from, I was so lazy she had to force me to get out of my bed and brush my teeth, and without her I would have never made a single video or a single dollar,” James said. “And other things that are much more serious and disgusting such as that I used to say the n-word around her all the time.” 

James added that the last claim is “perfect timing” because a Twitter account he has not used since 2016 was allegedly hacked recently and posted a tweet using the n-word.

James said he knows the employees allegations would go away if he just agreed to settle, but he does not want to do that. 

“Contrary to popular belief, I have never ever paid anybody to speak or to not speak about me and this will not be the first time that I do it,” he stated. “It just won’t.” 

James said he feels no choice but to fully pursue this legally and felt compelled to post this video in the meantime as the situation remains in the court of public opinion, which is already falling out of his favor. He also said he did not want his fans to be blindsided when the upcoming article is published because he knows it will not look good on his part.

Insider Reporter Tweets About Upcoming Article

In April, Rocklein tweeted something that appeared to be about James and the misconduct allegations against him. 

“Watching the same people who screwed me over massively end up in deep scandals isn’t news to me, it’s karmic debt,” she wrote. 

She also previously posted another tweet that seemingly referenced her lawsuit against James, as well as a lawsuit she allegedly won against internet personality Erika Costell. 

“Won 1, going 2 for 2 because im all about law and order,” she said. 

Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge, who broke the story involving a rape allegation against the Vlog Squad’s Dom Zeglaitis, responded to James’ video in a series of now-deleted tweets. She shared his video and said, “Absolutely not, story coming soon.”

“Literally cannot believe this,” she continued. “Okay, well, yeah. You paid your creative director $72k. AFTER a raise. We’ll start there, since you’re the one putting it out! More soon.”

“BLACKMAIL is a criminal allegation, and a really crazy and stupid one to make.”

After taking those posts down, she shared a new tweet saying “We’re reporting everything out. Story will be coming soon!” That post was retweeted by Rocklein.

See what others are saying: (MTV News Australia) (Just Jared) (Daily Dot)

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Tana Mongeau Seemingly Defends Talent Agency After Backlash

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  • YouTuber Tana Mongeau officially launched an influencer management division on Monday called Tana’s Angel’s Agency.
  • She wrote on Instagram that she is regularly asked for advice about how to build a following on platforms like OnlyFans and said this new venture will allow her to help people break into the business. 
  • Mongeau quickly faced backlash from those who believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build an audience from the ground up and from others who think the agency is a “scam.”
  • In response, Mongeau said she “hired an amazing team” of successful people and will only sign creators “that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”

Tana Mongeau Launches Management Division

YouTuber Tana Mongeau launched an influencer management agency on Monday named Tana’s Angels Agency.

The division is part of Unruly Agency, a social media marketing and management company owned by Tara Electra, who will be leading the launch alongside Mongeau and her manager, David Weintraub. Mongeau said she wants to use the agency to help aspiring content creators because when she was just starting out, she could have benefited from a mentor. 

“Throughout my career I’ve been taken advantage of more times than I can count,” she previously told Us Weekly.”I am starting TAA to teach people how to not make the mistakes I made early on in my career.” 

In a Monday Instagram post, Mongeau wrote that she regularly gets messages from people asking for advice about how to get started and make money on platforms like OnlyFans. Mongeau said that by starting this agency, she can now use her “experiences, platform, connections, knowledge and creativity” to help these small creators find her same success. She also said that the same people who helped her make millions of dollars on OnlyFans will be part of the TAA team.

“I brought on those people to TAA to finally be able to share their expertise, marketing knowledge, and much more with authentic creators I believe in- big, small, or starting today,” she wrote. 

TAA Receives Backlash

However, this pursuit has not come without a fair amount of backlash. Many people have shared Mongeau’s tweet announcing TAA and criticized her for the venture. Among other things, many believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build a following from the ground up because she was already famous when she started her OnlyFans.

Others accused her of taking advantage of OnlyFans users and sex workers who are already struggling enough, while others accused her of being a pimp and running a scam. 

Mongeau seems to be aware of some of this criticism, as she joked in a tweet early on Tuesday saying, “Someone commented ‘how she gon have a talent agency with no talent’ on my post i’m screaming.”

She then further explained the intent behind TAA.

“I hired an amazing team of lots of individuals who have helped me earn millions on OF and with other opportunities to help me alongside this project. I’m also only signing people onto Tana‘s Angels that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”

The backlash also does not seem to be slowing her down. Mongeau said that within the first 10 hours of the launch, 100,000 people applied to be part of TAA. 

See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Daily Dot) (Us Weekly)

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