Welcome to 2019, where we learn Facebook is the new crapware.
Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the scandal-beset social media behemoth has inked millions of agreements with Android smartphone makers, mobile carriers and OSes across the world to not just pre-load Facebook’s eponymous app on hardware but leave the applications undeleteable; a permanent feature of your device, whether you enjoy how the organization’s program can track your every movement and digital activity or not.
Bloomberg talked to a U.S. proprietor of a Samsung Galaxy S8 who, after reading forum talks about Samsung apparatus, discovered his very own pre-loaded Facebook program couldn’t be removed. It might only be”disabled,” with no explanation for him as to what exactly that meant.
The Galaxy S8 retailed for $725+ as it went on the market at the U.S. two decades ago.
A Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg a handicapped permanent app doesn’t continue collecting data or sending data back to the organization, but declined to specify exactly how many such pre-install deals Facebook continues globally.
Samsung told the news organization it provides a pre-installed Facebook program on”chosen models” with options to disable it, including that after disabled, the program is no longer operating.
Following Bloomberg’s report has been published, mobile research and routine Facebook technical tipster Jane Manchun Wong chipped in via Twitterto comment — explaining the pre-loaded Facebook program on Samsung devices as”stub.”
Samsung only ship the stub version of Facebook on their phones. It’s basically a non-functional empty shell, acts as the placeholder for when the phone receives the “real” Facebook app as app updates https://t.co/KHdkF9fFyK
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) January 8, 2019
Albeit many smartphone users have automatic updates enabled, and also an omnipresent disabled program is obviously there to become re-enabled at a later date (and consequently revived out of a zombie country into a totally enclosed Facebook app one future day).
Even though it’s possible to argue that using a popular program pre-installed can be valuable to consumers (though not in any way useful to Facebook competitors), a permanent pre-install is definitely an anti-consumer move.
Crapware is named crapware for a reason. Having paid to possess hardware, why should people be forever saddled with unwanted applications, stub or otherwise?
And while Facebook isn’t the only this permanent app around (Apple got lots of historical blowback for its own undeleteable programs, for instance, finally adding the ability to delete some built-in programs with iOS 12), it’s an especially egregious case given the company’s long and storied privacy-hostile history.
Consumers who do not desire their electronic activity and place surveilled by the people-profiling giant will probably crave the reassurance of not having any form of Facebook program, stub or , taking up space on their apparatus.
But an unknown number of Android users are currently finding out they do not have that alternative.
Not trendy, Facebook, not cool.
In recent years, the business has had to update its ad metrics many times. So it is valid to wonder whether a disabled Facebook program pre-install has been correctly accounted for by the firm (i.e. as minus the set of eyeballs for its ad targeting empire) or not.
We asked Facebook about this point, but at the time of composing it declined to comment outside its current statements to Bloomberg.