Many Android users are growing worried about the fact that Facebook’s core app, which comes pre-installed on some devices, cannot be deleted due to deals the tech giant has made with some manufacturers including Samsung.
The news, reported by Bloomberg, comes as Facebook comes under scrutiny for misusing personal data without consent.
Bloomberg found that for a number of years, Facebook has made deals with several phone makers, operating system developers and mobile operators to preload its app onto devices to ensure users got “the best” experience.
In such cases, the app cannot be deleted but can be disabled, which means it will stop collecting data or sending information to Facebook. However, users have expressed concerned because this information is not communicated to them.
Facebook was unable to provide a list of the partners with which it has these deals and the only way for users to find out if the device they want to buy has the app preloaded or not is to ask a customer service representative.
Bloomberg quoted Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, as saying: “It’s only recently that people have become to understand that these apps really power the spy in your pocket. Companies should be filing public documents on these deals and Facebook should turn over public documents that show there is no data collection when the app is disabled.”
Facebook may be the one coming under fire, but it is by no means alone. The version of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 that T-Mobile US sells includes the Amazon app plus Google services including YouTube and Gmail.
Similar cases can be found with operators Verizon and AT&T, along with device makers including LG Electronics and Sony.
Twitter is also preloaded on some phones: the company said the app does not collect data until a user logs in.Subscribe to our daily newsletter