Published: Wed, November 13, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Facebook covertly uses your iPhone's camera while you're browsing your feed

Facebook covertly uses your iPhone's camera while you're browsing your feed

While trying to reproduce the issue on my iPhone SE running iOS 13.2.2, I could find only the black area instead of the camera footage. The thought of Facebook listening in to our lives through our camera apps is the real concern here.

Facebook's iOS app has been opening the iPhone's camera in the background when users look at the Facebook feed. In a world where a large number of people think that Facebook is using their phone's microphone in order to eavesdrop on their real-world conversations and better target ads, the notion that the Facebook app secretly activates your iPhone's camera whenever it's open is scary yet somehow believable. "They may also be accessing the front camera", he said in a tweet.

Guy Rosen, the company's vice president of integrity, offered a similar statement on Twitter.

Another day, another new controversy related to Facebook.

Updated, 11/12/19, 11:45am PT: Facebook responded to our request for comment with the following statement: "We recently discovered that version 244 of the Facebook iOS app would incorrectly launch in landscape mode".

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The company said it found no proof of videos or photos that were uploaded due to the issue. At least until we know what the issue is and that it's been fixed by Facebook and/or Apple.

So it sounds like fixing the old bug introduced a new one. Users just don't see the viewfinder view unless the open the camera feature.

iOS 13.2.2 was released on October 28, and since then multiple other users have reported the same background camera issue when using the Facebook app.

Neo adds: "When rotating back to portrait, the Story camera/UI opened entirely". This can be done in the Settings app of the iPhone user Privacy and Camera tabs. Facebook has a long history of abusing trust, and downloading an app grants it far more access to your data that accessing its service through a browser. But it's concerning nonetheless; unwarranted access to your camera is perhaps the most concerning security issue there is. If it actually is a spying thing, then Facebook has failed us real bad.

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