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Security & privacy

Facebook fixed a bug that lets the app take over your camera

Facebook has a tendency to push boundaries. Since its inception, Facebook’s business model has been based around the collection and sale of user data. Despite what Mark Zuckerberg claims, the platform remains hostile toward privacy. Click or tap to see how Facebook continues to disrespect its users.

But now, a new controversy has erupted over a strange issue appearing on the Facebook app for iOS. When looking at an image or video on the platform, the phone’s camera mysteriously activates on its own. What’s worse, nobody is sure why this is happening.

Facebook has thankfully issued a fix, but the issue was invasive enough to cause concern for millions of users. Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s unauthorized camera access, as well as how you can download the patch to stop the app from spying on you.

Big Brother Mark is watching you

Update: Facebook has released a patch for this bug that gets rid of the issue on affected iPhones. To get the fix, open the App store on your iPhone and search for the Facebook app. Tap to download the latest version of the app to your phone. The issue should resolve itself once it’s installed.

Users on Twitter have confirmed a unique glitch found in the latest iOS edition of the Facebook app. While opening a photo on the platform, swiping down will reveal your phone’s camera is live and running in the background. This appears to be happening whether you’re using the camera or not, and runs continuously inside the app without your permission.

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.

— Joshua Maddux (@JoshuaMaddux) November 10, 2019

Twitter user Joshua Maddux was one of the first to report the issue, and has since reproduced it on 5 different iPhones running the latest software from Apple — version 13.2.2. Interestingly, the problem only seems to be occurring in the latest iOS version. It also only seems to occur if a user had previously given the app permission to use the camera.

Facebook has not publicly commented on the issue, but users are speculating the problem is most likely a glitch of some form, though some privacy skeptics see a more sinister motive.

Facebook is already known to play fast-and-loose with its user privacy, and having the camera recording live in the background would be a convenient way to collect more data. The social media giant could easily claim they’re just keeping the camera ready to save on loading times, while downplaying the seriousness of the problem — but that’s only speculation.

I’m on iOS 13.2.2! How can I stop the Facebook app from doing this?

If you’re already on iOS 13.2.2, you have two options : disable camera access for the Facebook app in your phone’s privacy settings or delete the Facebook app altogether. When you want to check it, use a web browser like Safari or Google Chrome.

To disable camera access via your privacy settings, open the Settings app, tap on Privacy and select Camera. Here, you’ll see a list of apps you previously authorized to use your phone’s camera alongside green toggle switches. Locate Facebook on this list and turn the toggle off to disable camera access.

Deleting the Facebook app is even easier — and has numerous other privacy benefits to boot! Click or tap to see why Kim thinks you should break up with Facebook.

To delete it on an iPhone X or newer, simply hold your finger on top of the app icon until a small menu pops up. Tap Rearrange Apps and tap on the small x icon that appears next to the app. This will remove it from your phone. For older devices, including the iPhone 8, simply hold your finger on top of the app icon until a small menu pops up and tap Delete App.

Thankfully, Facebook has updated its app and removed the issue from iPhones altogether. The company has yet to publicly on the issue as of yet. Unfortunately, we already know how valuable their word is, so we don’t suggest you hold your breath. Click or tap to see Mark Zuckerberg promote the future of “privacy” on Facebook.

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