Facebook is being sued for allegedly spying on Instagram users by secretly accessing their mobile phone cameras.
The complaint, filed in a federal court in San Francisco on Thursday by Brittany Conditi of New Jersey, claims the app’s unauthorized use of the camera is intentional and done for the purpose of collecting “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to.”
According to the complaint, Facebook and Instagram are allegedly “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes.”
The complaint suggests this is done for “valuable insights and market research.”
The lawsuit comes after it was reported in July that Apple’s iOS 14 beta update was notifying users that the Instagram app was accessing their camera in the background.
Casually browsing Instagram when suddenly the new iOS 14 camera/microphone indicator comes on. Then control panel ratted out the app behind it. This is going to change things. #iOS14 pic.twitter.com/EnTIRsqq3R— KevDoy (@KevDoy) July 17, 2020
At the time, Facebook blamed the “false notification” on a bug in the new software.
“We only access your camera when you tell us to — for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera,” a spokesperson for Instagram told The Verge.
“We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t. We do not access your camera in those instances, and no content is recorded.”
The question is, not only can we take their word for it, but what does the CEO of Facebook know that the rest of us don’t?