There has been a longstanding conspiracy theory that suggests that Facebook is somehow listening and spying on its users through the microphone and/or camera of the smartphone that it is installed on. After all, how would one otherwise explain how uncannily accurate the ads are, especially since we just talked about it with our friends, right?
There is no proof that Facebook is spying on users, but a recently-discovered bug is probably not going to do much to shake those conspiracy theories. In a recent tweet by Joshua Maddux, he found that when he was using Facebook for iOS, for whatever reason, the camera is activated and running in the background.
This seems to be a recent issue where oddly enough, it was only spotted in recent iOS builds and not older ones. That being said, Facebook has since acknowledged the issue where they are claiming that it is a bug. An update for the issue has since been released and is pending Apple’s approval.
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 a Facebook spokesperson who spoke to TechCrunch, “We recently discovered that version 244 of the Facebook iOS app would incorrectly launch in landscape mode. In fixing that issue last week in v246 — launched on November 8th — we inadvertently introduced a bug that caused the app to partially navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News Feed when users tapped on photos. We have seen no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded due to this bug.”