Facebook is causing an uproar amongst Android phone owners after discovering the app cannot be permanently deleted.
Specifically, owners of Samsung phones cannot permanently delete Facebook as a result of a pre-install deal made between the two companies.
Facebook can only be “disabled” on Samsung phones, which means the app will forever remain on the phone in some form.
This information caused quite a stir yesterday after an article from Bloomberg started making the rounds on Twitter.
Is there really anything for users to be concerned about? This article will look at it from both sides.
What’s the Deal with Pre-Installs?
Pre-install deals with Android phone manufacturers are not exclusively a Facebook thing, but they are rarely communicated to consumers.
Samsung claims that such arrangements are made in order to provide “the best” experience to users.
There are also financial incentives for phone manufacturers to sign pre-install deals.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, when the app is disabled it acts as though it has been deleted. So it no longer collects data or sends information back to the company.
However, many users are still not satisfied and would prefer the option to delete the app altogether.
Should Users Really be Concerned?
Reputable tech tipster and reverse-engineering expert, Jane Manchun Wong, dissected this issue in a series of tweets published yesterday.
“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”
When a pre-installed app is disabled on an Android phone it will be reverted back to the “non-functional stub,” Wong continues to explain.
Wong assures users that there is nothing to worry about when an app is disabled, as it’s not capable of doing anything.
As far as I can tell, Wong has nothing to gain from clearing up these misconceptions, so it’s the most unbiased take on the situation that I can find at the moment.
Those who are still put off by pre-installs could always consider iPhones. Apple doesn’t pre-install any third-party apps on its devices.