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Facebook bug allows app to open users’ cameras while in use

The bug appears to affect devices running iOS 13

Photo (c) coffeekai - Getty Images
A Facebook bug is allowing the Facebook app to activate iPhone users’ cameras while it is active. 

The bug was discovered by web designer Joshua Maddux, who posted on Twitter that it “lets you see the camera open behind your feed.” Other users of Facebook for iOS have also reported the issue, with the earliest incident occurring on November 2. 

Users have said they are able to see the camera feed on the left side of their screen when they open a photo in the app and scroll down. The Next Web notes that the camera feed is only live if the user has given the app permission to access their camera.

Maddux said he spotted the same glitch on a handful of other iPhone devices with the iOS 13.2.2 operating system, but the bug didn’t appear to surface on iOS 12 and has not been reported among Android users.

“I will note that iPhones running iOS 12 don’t show the camera (not to say that it’s not being used),” he said.

Privacy issues

The camera activation bug comes as Facebook attempts to regain users’ trust following a string of privacy incidents. The company recently paid a record $5 billion fine to the FTC over its handling of user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Earlier this month, Facebook disclosed that as many as 100 app developers retained data from user groups on the platform. That disclosure came just a few weeks after the company informed the public that it had suspended “tens of thousands” of apps, citing various privacy concerns. 

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, posted on Twitter that the company is now aware of the bug affecting the app’s use of some users’ cameras.  

“Thanks for flagging this,” Rosen tweeted on Tuesday. “This sounds like a bug, we are looking into it.”

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