A recent update to Facebook’s iOS app introduced a bug that had some users worried
Earlier in November, several iPhone users started experiencing a mysterious glitch while using the Facebook app. The issue got wider traction once some of them, including Joshua Maddux, went to Twitter to share their experience, CNET reports.
The glitch is triggered when you watch a video in full screen in landscape mode and then revert to normal. You would then notice that the app’s UI (user interface) would shift slightly to the right side. In the space left you could clearly see that your phone’s camera has been activated in the background. In the case of another user, after doing the same the camera app was activated directly. The camera remains in the preview mode and does not appear to record anything. The bug only seems to affect users who are running iOS 13 – no such issue has been reported by Android users.
Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen said that this indeed appeared to be a bug and that the company will be looking into the issue. In a later response to another tweet, he said that there was no evidence that photos or videos were being uploaded due to the bug, as well as that a fix had already been shipped to App Store.
Wanted to let you know that we've shipped the fix to App Store and are waiting for it to be approved. Team is still digging into details including about the state of the camera after the bug is first triggered (which relates to your Q), expect to be able to update you later today
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) November 12, 2019
In the interim, users were able to find a workaround for the issue by revoking Facebook’s permission to access the camera. This could prove to be a good learning exercise for users about the permissions they grant apps. Recently, an Android keyboard app was caught trying to make sneaky purchases. That same app had a lengthy list of permission requests that even at first glance seemed suspicious.
When you’re downloading an app into your smartphone you should take a deeper look at the permissions it requests. Then weigh the pros and cons and see if the possible trade-off between an app’s functionality and the requested permissions is worth it. ESET Global Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe recently took a look at some of the permissions apps request. In a practical test he conducted searching for a battery saver app, he found out that one of them requests 35 permissions, including access to GPS location and the ability to modify and delete files – quite excessive for an app that is intended to extend your phone’s battery life. That being said, maybe now is the right time to audit the permissions your apps use.