Samsung phone users get a shock: They can't delete Facebook

Joanna Estrada
January 10, 2019

So it's perhaps understandable that Samsung users were alarmed to find that they can't get rid of the Facebook app (aka Mark Zuckerberg's all-seeing eye), on some devices. However, in light of recent revelations that many Android apps may be phoning Facebook with personal user data without any consent, the issue of Facebook coming preloaded on some phones with no option to remove it is again coming to public attention.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the devices which reportedly falls under this agreement. It is a problem with nearly all phone companies, as they pre-install third-party apps that can not be removed by users. Xiaomi, LG, Sony, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo. you name them. But Samsung phones still ship with built-in apps that you can't delete. In a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt revealed a sharp increase in reported mental health issues among USA teenagers and young adults in the last decade.

"Can they still track your information, your location, or whatever else they do? We the consumer should have say in what we want and don't want on our products", added Winke.

Also, as pointed out by some users and reported by other publications, Samsung doesn't even install the actual Facebook app on many of its smartphones. And if it did, why couldn't he just remove it from his phone?

As part of my job, I often use different and new phones nearly every week. It seems like Facebook has a list of partners with whom it has deals for "permanent apps", in other words, Facebook can not be deleted from phones that are sold by those partners, it seems. While these apps are the ones that are nearly a necessity on smartphones these days, the absence of an option to remove them is irksome.

App researcher Jane Wong also tweeted that said app is just a non-functional shell. Disabled apps are claimed to be as good as uninstalled apps and they don't take up valuable resources. But, they are still present on the phone. The stub is actually the Facebook App Manager/Installer, which is different from the main Facebook app. Basically, you can't use or log in to Facebook unless you decide to update the placeholder app. I could simply download the latest version when I need it.

Whereas Facebook stated that a disabled version of their app behaves like a deleted one, and it doesn't collect data or send any information back to its servers. Facebook has been caught collecting data on users even if they don't even have an account, nevermind if they are logged in or not.

Ideally, it's time for Android companies to follow Apple's practice and give people an option. Plus, it's really annoying not being able to get rid of the Facebook icon from your phone.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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