Apple iPhone users are being warned about a Facebook app issue that apparently allows the app to activate your camera as you scroll your feed.
The iOS issue, which appears to be a bug in the iOS 13.2.2 version of the app, was posted to Twitter by a user called Joshua Maddux. His post reads: “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.”
Maddux also posted a video showing how the iPhone’s camera opens when scrolling down on your feed. He discovered the issue was present on five devices running iOS 13.2.2, but not on iOS 12. Meanwhile, tech site The Next Web claimed the problem did not affect iOS 13.1.3 either.
But the good news is, revoking Facebook’s camera access seems to resolve the issue.
Facebook’s VP of integrity Guy Rosen has responded via Twitter, saying: “Thanks for flagging this. This sounds like a bug, we are looking into it.”
It’s easy to assume that the problem is intentional, and that Facebook is using your iPhone’s camera to spy on you. However, it’s much more likely a bug; something that’s been fairly common in many app versions for Apple’s latest operating system version iOS 13.
Whether intentional or not, the problem does not look great for Facebook, says security researcher Sean Wright. “They appear to be going from one mishap to another. Given their past they are now under the spotlight more than ever, so issues that might have not been too severe some time ago have now suddenly become a big thing.”
He thinks users should delete their Facebook app, or at least revoke camera access straight away.
Ethical hacker John Opdenakker agrees: “This proves that you shouldn’t give access to your camera, unless that’s one of the core functionalities and thus the reason you installed the app in the first place.”
I have contacted Facebook for further comment and will update this article when they respond.
For now, it’s important to note: The Facebook iOS 13.2.2 issue is probably a bug, but it’s still a privacy problem that you need to address until it’s fixed. If you really can’t face deleting your app from your phone, at least revoke the iPhone’s camera access.