What you need to know
- Facebook for iOS can access your iPhone camera whilst you scroll through your news feed.
- Web designer Joshua Maddux took to Twitter to reveal the issue.
- The issue only seems to affect iOS 13.
A report suggests that Facebook for iOS may be able to actively use your iPhone's camera as you scroll your feed.
According to TNW:
iPhone owners, beware. It appears Facebook might be actively using your camera without your knowledge while you're scrolling your feed.
The issue has come to light after a user going by the name Joshua Maddux took to Twitter to report the unusual behavior, which occurs in the Facebook app for iOS. In footage he shared, you can see his camera actively working in the background as he scrolls through his feed.
Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet. pic.twitter.com/B8b9oE1nbl— Joshua Maddux (@JoshuaMaddux) November 10, 2019
In a screen recording where Maddux used Facebook, watching the footage back you can clearly see the camera open and in operation. Maddux says he used a bug in the app to see the camera behind the feed.
Maddux says he has been able to replicate this on 5 different iPhones running iOS 13.2.2. On iOS 12 the camera feed is not visible, but this isn't to say it's not being used.
Another Twitter user also noted a similar problem below:
Facebook app on iOS 13.2.2 opens my phone’s rear camera when I open a profile photo swipe down to return (look at the little slit on the left of the video). Is this an app bug or an iOS bug?? @facebook @AppleSupport pic.twitter.com/WlhSXZulqx— Daryl Lasafin (@dzlasafin) November 10, 2019
TNW also confirms that that they were able to replicate the issue on the same version of iOS 13. The bug does not work if you haven't given Facebook access to your camera in your iOS settings. It seems the problem does not extend to Android.
Facebook doesn't have a fantastic track record when it comes to breaching the privacy of its users. It would be easy to jump on this as another similar failing, however there is no information to suggest that this is an intentional feature, and is most likely a bug. You can of course prevent it by revoking Facebook's access to your camera in iOS, simply go to Privacy > Camera> Facebook. Facebook only needs access to your photos, not your camera to upload pictures on iOS.
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