Facebook probably isn’t violating your privacy now any more than it usually does, but an unsettling bug in the company’s iOS app sure makes it look like it’s sneakily accessing your camera in the background.
Numerous concerned users have documented the bug, which seems to cause the app to launch the iOS camera interface out of nowhere, revealing just a sliver of it alongside your Facebook feed. As a result, the bug looks almost comically sinister; it’s as if Facebook had been spying on us all along and was only just caught in the most obvious way possible.
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
Really, it sounds a bit too obvious. And a Facebook executive says a fix is already in the works.
As CNET reports, Facebook’s “Integrity” vice president, Guy Rosen, acknowledged the apparent glitch today on Twitter, saying it was “inadvertently introduced” last week. In a separate tweet, Rosen said Facebook has “no evidence of photos/videos uploaded due to this [bug].” The executive added that the company is already “submitting a fix for this to the App Store today.”
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.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) November 12, 2019
As far as we can tell, Facebook isn’t up to anything nefarious, but if you’re unnerved by the whole thing, you could revoke Facebook’s access to your camera. iOS users can navigate to Settings > Privacy > Camera and then swipe left on the switch next to Facebook.
If that doesn’t feel cathartic enough, you could just delete the Facebook app altogether.