Facebook ‘secretly’ uses your iPhone camera for no good reason

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the Facebook logo on an iPhone 6 Plus
Here we go again.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Facebook is quietly using your iPhone’s camera in the background while you scroll through your news feed.

The issue is believed to be a bug that affects devices running certain versions of iOS. It has been replicated on handsets with iOS 13.2.2, but not those still using iOS 13.1.3.

Many of us don’t trust Facebook with our privacy. That’s largely due to the negligence that has led to things like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, for which it was recently fined around $644,000 in the U.K.

Here’s another great example of it. A rather serious bug in the social network’s iOS app causes it to quietly use your iPhone’s camera in the background for no good reason.

Facebook sparks new privacy concerns on iPhone

The issue was uncovered by web designer Joshua Maddux. He found that Facebook was using his iPhone’s camera while he scrolled through his news feed, as demonstrated in the video below.

Maddux encountered the same problem on five different devices. Others have since verified that they are experiencing the same. But the issue appears to be present only under certain versions of iOS.

The Next Web reports they see it on an iPhone running iOS 13.2.2, but not on an iPhone running iOS 13.1.3. One user reports experiencing it on an iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 12.4.1.

The issue has not been replicated on Android devices.

Don’t give Facebook camera access

It is believed this issue is a bug, rather than an intentional privacy breach. But it’s concerning nonetheless; unwarranted access to your camera is perhaps the most concerning security issue there is.

There’s no evidence of Facebook recording the images or video your iPhone’s camera picks up while using the app. And there is a way you can prevent this from happening until it’s fixed.

You can either uninstall the Facebook app entirely. Or you can revoke access to your camera by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Privacy then choose Camera
  3. Tap the toggle alongside Facebook to disable it

You may choose to block microphone access, too.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and we’ll update this post if we get a response. The company is yet to publicly acknowledge the problem or confirm it is working on a fix.