In what could be alarming news for iPhone users, a bug in the Facebook app secretly triggers a phone camera when users are scrolling their Facebook feed. For now, the issue may be limited to iPhone users but there's no guarantee that it won't affect Android users given Facebook's history when it comes to dealing with the privacy of its users. As always, Facebook acknowledged the issue and said the fix is on its way.
The issue came to light after an iPhone user Joshua Maddux reported it on Twitter that Facebook actively uses iPhone's camera when the app is open. Maddux also shared a video on his Twitter profile showing what the issue is. As one can see, the camera unexpectedly turns on behind the feed when Maddux was scrolling and opening a media inside the app.
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
Responding to Maddux's tweet, Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said that it "sounds like a bug" and the company was looking into it.
Soon, concerns were raised that Facebook secretly captures/records and uploads photos/videos from the device's camera to its servers. Rosen further clarified that the company has no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded to its server due to the bug.
"We recently discovered our iOS app incorrectly launched in landscape. In fixing that last week in v246 we inadvertently introduced a bug where the app partially navigates to the camera screen when a photo is tapped. We have no evidence of photos/videos uploaded due to this," Rosen said in a separate tweet.
Update: We've confirmed that we didn't upload anything to FB due to this bug and that the camera didn’t capture anything since it was in preview mode. We’ve submitted a fixed version to the App Store which is already rolling out.— Guy Rosen (@guyro) November 12, 2019
The bug seems to affect only those running iOS 13and those who have granted the Facebook app access their phone's camera. Hence, the ideal solution would be this: Either deny Facebook access to your camera or watch out for the next update, which is already rolling out to iPhone users.