Facebook appears to become more and more invasive as time goes by. This time some Android users were revolted to discover that the Facebook app cannot be deleted from their phones. When users tried to remove it they discovered that the app can only be disabled.
If you don’t like how this sounds, things get worse. This isn’t a bug or an error, and it is, in fact, a decision made by phone manufacturers. Bloomberg revealed that Facebook has a deal with a number of smartphone makers in order to make the social media app impossible to delete.
We don’t have the complete list of affected phones. However, we do know that users reported undeletable Facebook on the Huawei P20 Pro and on the Samsung Galaxy S8. Samsung’s official response explained that once the app is disabled it cannot collect data.
“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,” said app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
Collecting data from users who don’t have a Facebook account
The fact that Facebook will come pre-installed on smartphones produced by major manufacturers is worrisome especially if we remember Facebook’s scandals related to data privacy. Recently Privacy International published a report in which it revealed that Facebook tracks Android users even if they do not have in fact a Facebook account. Multiple popular Android apps (23 out of the 34 analyzed) sent data to the social media company.
“Facebook routinely tracks users, non-users and logged-out users outside its platform through Facebook Business Tools. App developers share data with Facebook through the Facebook Software Developer Kit (SDK), a set of software development tools that help developers build apps for a specific operating system,” read the report.
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.