The Facebook app activates the iPhone camera while users scroll through their news feed, claims a web designer Joshua Maddux.

This behavior is not noticed on android-based phones.

This was not a one-off glitch as Maddux found after opening the app on 5 different devices running on iOS 13.2.2. Another user found that it was not an issue on iOS 13.1.3.

Maddux posted a tweet and video of the camera being active on his feed and said this was due to a bug found in the app.

This privacy breach has led to a flurry of concern among iPhone users who are worried that the camera may be secretly recording their activities without them being aware of it. This is unlike in Apple computers where an indicator always comes on if any app activates the device’s camera.

Facebook FTC

CEO Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2019.

This camera issue is in devices that have inadvertently allowed the Facebook app access to the camera. In cameras, that have denied access, the iOS blocks any attempt to record by the camera. A quick fix to this issue is to go to the settings app, click on  Facebook, which will open the various permissions that have given to the app, go to camera and turn off the toggle.

In a statement, Facebook said that the camera activation was not deliberate, there was no malicious intent on their part. It was the result of a bug that was added to the code accidentally and there was no indication that iPhone users’ photos or videos were being sent to its servers. Furthermore, the company claims that an update has already been sent to Apple, which should fix the issue.

 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."

Given the track record of Facebook regarding security issues, fake accounts, and data breach, another privacy issue with its app is alarming.

Earlier, the facial recognition feature on its social media platform had caused concerns, which led it to offer the opt-in feature. The facial recognition feature was enabled for all users once they accepted to tag people in pictures. The tagging feature has now been replaced by the facial recognition one and becomes active only when the user manually opts for it.