Facebook spied on Instagram users through their iPhone cameras, a new lawsuit claims

Facebook Inc. Instagram signage is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in an arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Facebook Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on January 29. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

  • Facebook is being sued by an Instagram user who claims the social media giant spied on users through their iPhone cameras.
  • Brittany Conditi, who filed the lawsuit, said Facebook accessed Instagram users’ cameras even when they weren’t taking pictures or videos.
  • Users first noticed a green FaceTime symbol appear on their phones when they were scrolling through their Instagram news feeds in July.
  • Facebook has denied spying, and blamed a bug.

Facebook is being sued over claims it spied on Instagram users through their iPhone cameras.

The social-media giant has denied the claims, and blamed a bug that it said triggered false notifications that Instagram was accessing iPhone cameras.

In July, users noticed that a green FaceTime symbol was showing up when they scrolled through their Instagram feed, per the Independent. The symbol appears on iPhones when the camera is on.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday by Instagram user Brittany Conditi, claims that Facebook’s intentional access of the camera allows the app to collect “lucrative and valuable data on its users that it would not otherwise have access to,” Bloomberg reported.

Instagram and Facebook can collect “valuable insights and market research” by “obtaining extremely private and intimate personal data on their users, including in the privacy of their own homes,” the complaint says. Conditi filed the lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court.

Facebook did not immediately respond for a comment when contacted by Business Insider.

The accusation follows allegations that Facebook illegally holds more than 100 million Instagram users’ biometric data. The social media company offered to pay $650 million in July to settle a lawsuit that accused it of collecting data through the photo-tagging tool available on the app.

In November, users accused Facebook of accessing iPhone cameras through the Facebook app. A Facebook spokesperson told CNN that the bug was “inadvertently introduced” and promised to fix the issue.

“If you liked the article, share it in ...”