The app, which takes photos and adds effects that can make people look older or add a smile to their pictures, is being investigated over its ties to the Russian government, FBI assistant director Jill Tyson said in a Nov. 25 letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.
The face-editing tool went viral earlier this year but prompted privacy concerns. The FBI’s answers came as a response to a letter Schumer sent July 17, when FaceApp was at its height of popularity. The app became part of a viral challenge as celebrities like the Jonas Brothers and LeBron James were using its filters to digitally age themselves.
The app was developed by Wireless Lab, a company based in St Petersburg. The firm previously said it does not permanently store images, and does not collect troves of data – only uploading specific photos selected by users for editing.