Facebook bug grants access to camera while user browses the app

13 Nov 2019

Image: PA Media

The social network has confirmed it is aware of the bug and is submitting a fix to Apple.

A Facebook bug has been discovered that allows the social media giant’s app to access the iPhone camera as a user scrolls through their feed.

The social network has confirmed it is aware of the bug and says it will be submitting a software fix for the issue to Apple.

A screen recording of the bug, which appeared to show the iPhone camera opening in the background of the Facebook app, was posted to Twitter earlier this week, sparking security and privacy concerns among users.

The bug appears to be limited to the version of the Facebook app available on Apple’s iOS.

‘We inadvertently introduced a bug’

In response to concerns, Facebook said the bug was the result of an earlier software update to fix another bug found in its iOS app.

“We recently discovered that version 244 of the Facebook iOS app would incorrectly launch in landscape mode,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“In fixing that issue last week in v246 (launched on 8 November) 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. We’re submitting the fix for this to Apple today.”

Further responding to discussion of the bug on Twitter, Facebook’s vice-president for integrity, Guy Rosen, reiterated that the company had “no evidence” of any photos or videos being stored to Facebook servers or being uploaded because of the flaw.

Other privacy concerns

The social media giant has been at the centre of a number of privacy and security issues in recent years – most notably the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Facebook has also previously been the subject of claims that it listens in to users’ audio in order to target them with advertising, something the company has repeatedly denied.

The firm’s boss Mark Zuckerberg labelled the idea a “conspiracy theory” when he appeared in front of the US Congress last year, adding “we don’t do that”.

However, earlier this year Facebook was among a group of technology companies to admit they used a small number of audio recordings gathered from interactions with a virtual assistant or other voice-activated software.

The social network said it had reviewed some small segments of audio to help improve the artificial intelligence of the transcription feature within its Messenger app.

– PA Media