The Viral Lensa Art App is Taking over New Jersey. Is it Dangerous?
The pictures are pretty, but is the app that makes them safe to use?
For the past week or so, my Instagram and Facebook news feeds have been filled with gorgeous portraits of my friends. They've been transformed from their normal selves to fairies, astronauts, cartoon characters, and more.
The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, but I couldn't help but wonder if the Lensa AI app that creates the images, is safe to use.
What is the Lensa AI app?
According to the app's page on the Apple App Store, the Lensa AI app is a photo or video editor that can remove imperfections in pictures, adjust image background, and other elements such as lighting and saturation. Everyone's been loving the Magic Avatar feature, which is responsible for those cool portraits of your friends you've been seeing. Users will load selfies, and then the app will generate the AI Images. As they say, it costs money to look good. You can either sign up for a 7 day free trial and pay $3.99 for your Magic Avatar pictures, or pay $7.99 alone for the pictures. If you forget to cancel the trial after 7 days, it'll cost you $29.99 monthly.
Is the Lensa AI app dangerous?
Let's say you buy the app and upload your pictures - what happens after? CBS News notes the concerns surrounding privacy and data collection from Lensa. Per the article, you're giving up personal information when you agree to use this app. Lensa has the rights to your image after your Magic Avatar is created. Does this mean they'll use your image freely? The company's policy states they'll only use your image to create the Magic Avatars, and won't use it for anything else without your consent.
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Where does the Magic Avatar art come from?
There's even more controversy around where Lensa gets the art for the Magic Avatars. Artists are claiming that the app is generating the avatars using stolen art. This article from CBC spotlights artists who claim their work was stolen to train the program that creates the AI avatars.
The easiest way to explain it, is to compare it to a computer program doing your job and taking paid opportunities from you.
If you've already created a Magic Avatar with the Lensa AI app, there's most likely nothing to be worried about. However, if you were on the fence about using the app, you'll want to give the above information some thought.