For reasons unknown, the Facebook app is turning on the iPhone’s camera while users scroll through their feed.
The app has been shown to be accessing the camera on the iPhone while the user browses their feed, even if they aren’t taking a photograph or engaging in some other task that would involve the imaging sensors.
First posted to Twitter by Joshua Maddux and reported by The Next Web, when a user opens a photos in the iOS Facebook app and swiping down will show a sliver of a live camera feed on the left-hand side of the display. Maddux says he’s been able to reproduce the issue on five different iPhone handsets running iOS 13.2.2. The issue has also been replicated by other users.
The issue can be seen in action in the Twitter video below:
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
It should be noted that the issue only appears if the iPhone is running iOS 13.2.2, with earlier releases not showing the flaw. It also only appears if the user has previously given Facebook permission to use the camera.
Facebook hasn’t yet commented on the issue, but will likely announce that it is a bug that will be fixed. The situation could well be an honest bug, but it is likely to cause a privacy hullabaloo, thanks to Facebook’s less-than-sterling reputation, privacy-wise.