Facebook has confirmed a bug in the iOS app that caused iPhone's camera to open when users scrolling through their news feed. The unusual behaviour has led many to believe that their iPhone camera could be secretly recording as they use the app.
In a statement to The Guardian, Facebook's spokesperson admitted that it was a bug that allowed the Facebook app to "navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News Feed when users tapped on photos." A spokesperson further said the company did not find any evidence of photos or videos being uploaded to its servers. The company claims an update has already been submitted to Apple.
The strange behavior was first noticed by a Facebook user called Josua Maddux, who tweeted a screen recording that showed his iPhone camera would open as he scrolled through his Facebook feed. Maddux said he reproduced the issue across five different iPhones all running iOS 13.2.2 and adds the issue likely doesn't affect iPhones running on versions before iOS 13. The Telegraph and The Next Web also confirmed they were able to replicate the same issue on iPhones running iOS 13.2.2. It appears that that issue currently appears limited to iOS.
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
For now, iOS users should revoke Facebook's access to the camera. To do so, just open the Settings app on iOS and across down through apps to Facebook. Tap it, and under "Allow Facebook to access" section, toggle off "cameras".
The social networking giant has been on the radar of regulators and privacy watchdogs over recent privacy and security breaches. The Cambridge Analytica scandal still haunts Facebook when journalists revealed that the company had been harvesting personal data of 87 million users for political campaigning purposes. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission imposed a record $5 billion penalty on Facebook for privacy violations