Facebook’s iOS app appears to be activating the camera in the background of the app in some situations without a user’s knowledge.
There are a couple ways that this has been found to happen. One person found that the camera UI for Facebook Stories briefly appeared behind a video when they flipped their phone from portrait to landscape. Then, when they flipped it back, the app opened directly to the Stories camera.
The second issue is due to a bug that was inadvertently introduced in an app update released on November 8th and that it’s submitting a fix to Apple today. The company also tells us that “we have seen no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded due to this bug.”
Even though it seems like these issues will be fixed, the fact that users could unexpectedly see the camera viewfinder in the app at all isn’t a good thing. People already worry about the myth that Facebook is listening in to our conversations. A hidden camera viewfinder in its app, even if it was purely accidental, might stoke fears that the company is secretly recording everything we do. And as you wait for a potential fix to roll out, you might want to revoke the Facebook app’s camera access, just to be safe.