iPhoneowners, beware. It appearsFacebookmight be actively using yourcamerawithout your knowledge while you’re scrolling your feed.
The issue has come to light after a user going by the name Joshua Maddux took toTwitterto report the unusual behavior, which occurs in theFacebookapp foriOS. In footage he shared, you can see hiscameraactively working in the background as he scrolls through his feed.
The problem becomes evident due to a bug that shows thecamerafeed in a tiny sliver on the left side of your screen, when you open a photo in the app and swipe down. TNW has since been able to independently reproduce the issue.
Maddux adds he found the same issue on five iPhonedevices running iOS 13.2.2, but was unable to reproduce it on iOS 12. “I will note thatiPhonesrunning iOS 12 don’t show thecamera(not to say that it’s not being used),” he said.
The findings are consistent with our own attempts. WhileiPhonesrunning iOS 13.2.2 indeed show thecameraactively working in the background, the issue doesn’t appear to affect iOS 13.1.3. We further noticed the issue only occurs if you have given the Facebook app access to yourcamera. If not, it appears theFacebookapp tries to access it, butiOSblocks the attempt.
It remains unclear if this is expected behavior or simply a bug in the software foriOS(we all know whatFacebookwill say; spoiler: “Muh, duh, guh, it’s a bug. We sorry.”). For what it’s worth, we’ve been unable to reproduce the issue on Android (version 10, used onGooglePixel 4).
Whatever the reason for it, though, this behavior is particularly concerning — especially consideringFacebook‘s atrocious track record when it comes to userprivacy(remember Cambrdige Analytica?).
By now, everyone should be well aware that any iOS app that has been granted access to yourcameracan secretly record you. Back in 2017, researcher Felix Krause spoke to TNW about the same issue.
At the time, the researcher noted one way to deal with thisprivacyconcern is to revokecameraaccess (though that arguably doesn’t make for a smooth software experience). Another thing he suggested is covering up yourcamera— like formerFBIdirector James Comey andFacebook‘s own emperor Mark Zuckerberg do. Learn from the pros I guess.
We’ve reached out toFacebookfor further comment, and will update this piece accordingly if we hear back.