When scrolling through the Facebook timeline, several users saw the camera activated in the background, as demonstrated in the tweets below.
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
Facebook app on iOS 13.2.2 opens my phone’s rear camera when I open a profile photo swipe down to return (look at the little slit on the left of the video). Is this an app bug or an iOS bug?? @facebook @AppleSupport pic.twitter.com/WlhSXZulqx— Daryl Lasafin (@dzlasafin) November 10, 2019
One Facebook user found it through an interface bug that shows a small sliver of the display when looking at a photo, while another found it when rotating a device.
Both The Next Web and CNET were able to reproduce the issue and confirmed that the camera is activated in the background when using Facebook on iOS. The issue appears to impact iPhones running iOS 13, including the newest release version of iOS 13, iOS 13.2.2. Devices running iOS 12 do not appear to be impacted.
Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen this morning said that it "sounds like a bug" and that Facebook is looking into it, but Facebook has not officially commented on the issue.
Thanks for flagging this. This sounds like a bug, we are looking into it.— Guy Rosen (@guyro) November 12, 2019
Security researcher Will Strafach told TechCrunch that it appears to be a "harmless but creepy looking bug."
For the Facebook app to access the camera in the background, camera and microphone access must be enabled in the Settings app. Those concerned about the bug can disable Facebook's access to these features on the iPhone and the iPad, or delete the Facebook app.