"Facebook is listening to me all the time." How many times have you heard someone say that? They're completely convinced that Facebook and its other apps turn on the microphone when we're not using the app. "I was talking about cowboy boots the other day and later, I'm seeing ads for cowboy boots!" I hear people say something similar very often.
A new lawsuit takes that conspiracy theory to a new level, claiming Facebook through its Instagram app, was secretly turning on the smartphone camera to watch users. The lawsuit, Conditi v. Instagram, claims an Instagram user noticed the iPhone camera was turned on while she was browsing photos on Instagram even the "create" tab was not selected.
The class-action lawsuit asks for a $5 million judgment and a jury trial.
According to the complaint, an Instagram user from New Jersey noticed in July that the app opened the camera during "intimate moments in private places." Facebook acknowledged a bug in its iOS 14 version and reported the bug to Apple and released an update to fix it.
The user became aware of the open camera after upgrading her phone to an early beta release of iOS 14 which includes the feature of displaying a green dot icon at the top of the screen whenever an app is using the phone's camera. The public release of iOS 14, which became available last week also includes this feature.
The lawsuit alleges Facebook and Instagram secretly recorded video and audio in an effort to gather more data on its users in order to increase revenue by targeting users with more personalized advertisements.
To see if your phone will now display the green icon when the camera is activated, open the camera app, and look for the green dot in the upper right corner of the screen. If you do not see a green dot you should update your iPhone operating system to iOS 14 for this and other new features.