If you used Twitter, Instagram or any other social network in the past few days, chances are that you’ve come across countless portraits of people that have mysteriously aged, gotten younger, grown a beard or changed their appearance in any other more or less obvious way.
The reason behind this wave is FaceApp, a mobile app that uses machine learning to manipulate faces on digital photographs, which has gone viral after a couple of celebrities and influencers posted impressively accurate images of their future selves on social media.
As this chart shows, FaceApp had a moment in the limelight before, but the 2017 hype around the app was much smaller than the current craze. According to estimates from Priori Data, the app clocked nearly 30 million downloads in July, catapulting it to the top of the app store charts on both Android and iOS.
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the revelations about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, however, it is perhaps understandable that some alarm bells are going off when an app of Russian origin suddenly has access to data from tens of millions of users.
This article and chart originally appeared on the blog of the statistics firm Statista, and is republished here with permission.