Facebook has been in hot waters for quite some time now. The company has a plethora of accusations against it ranging from invading the privacy of its users to pushing political propaganda. While the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg did promise to bring some changes for alleviating concerns related to privacy, it looks like things are only getting worse.
Apparently, the Facebook app on iOS is accessing and opening the camera in the background without user consent. According to reports, the app opens your camera in the background while you are scrolling through your feed without any warning.
Facebook app on iOS opens camera in the background
The issue was initially reported by a Joshua Maddux on Twitter. He posted a video showing the unusual behaviour by the Facebook app. The tweet obviously sparked controversy and mass concerns over privacy yet again. People have been questioning Facebook’s integrity for a long time but the company seems to continue digging itself into an even deeper hole.
Here’s what the issue looks like:
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
According to reports, the issue is only present on iPhones running iOS 13.2.2 as users have not been able to reproduce it on other versions.
As you can see in the video, the issue can be reproduced by changing a video to full screen mode and then reverting it back to normal. For some reason, this shifts the layout of the app slightly towards the right side exposing the open camera in the process.
In response to the original tweet, the vice president of Integrity at Facebook, Guy Rosen replied that the issue is most probably caused by a bug and that they are ‘looking into it’. In another tweet later, he said that Facebook has developed a fix which will go live on the App store on Tuesday.
Here’s his full statement:
“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.”
Should you be concerned about Facebook invading your privacy?
While Facebook did state that it was indeed a bug and that there is no evidence of any photos or videos being sent to the Facebook servers, it is still a massive dent in the already-damaged integrity of the company. People are skeptical about what Facebook has to say because the company has such a bad track record of respecting the privacy of its users.
Recently, it was discovered that the Facebook app on Android is able to access data from devices thanks to a Global Library Collector hidden in the app’s code. It allowed Facebook to access and upload user data onto its own servers. However, the funny thing is that it was a completely hidden thing and Facebook was just collecting data without any warning. You couldn’t even opt out of it. (You can read all about it right here).
In addition to that, Facebook has always been traversing the blurred lines of morality. Remember Cambridge Analytica? It seems like the company hasn’t learned anything from that controversy either.
However, the issues with Facebook are not only limited to privacy either. It was recently discovered that any political candidate can run a false advertisement on the website and sway political opinion by stating false facts.
This sparked a debate about whether Facebook should even be able to have such a massive impact on elections and political agendas. Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg has also been accused of favoring and pushing political propaganda on his website.
However, Facebook is not the only app that can access your camera. If you’ve granted camera access permissions to any app on iOS, it can technically use your camera and record you without any warning. So, if you do wish to stay safe from any form of secret surveillance, you should probably revoke your camera access from untrustworthy apps.