Facebook and Samsung are facing waves of criticism amid reports the pre-installed social media app cannot be deleted from phones like the Galaxy S8.
Bloomberg shed light upon Galaxy users’ unsuccessful efforts to banish the pre-installed Facebook app from their handsets. While consumers can disable the application on the phones where the app comes built-in, permanently deleting it is not possible.
Facebook says the hobbled app acts like it has been deleted from the phone, so doesn’t collect any data from users. However, given the current low levels of trust in Facebook, users are understandably concerned.
Related: How to delete Facebook permanently
Facebook, who endured a terrible 2018 from a user privacy standpoint, refused to reveal to which other manufacturers it had agreed pre-install partnerships with. Plenty of users have taken to social media to register their displeasure, with some vowing to abandon Samsung phones until they halt the practice.
“It just absolutely baffles me that if I wanted to completely get rid of Facebook that it essentially would still be on my phone, which brings up more questions,” photographer and affected user Nick Winke told Bloomberg in an interview.
“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.”
Meanwhile, consumer advocacy groups have pointed out that customers have little way of easily discovering whether there’s a Trojan horse Facebook app on their devices prior to purchase.
“It’s only recently that people have become to understand that these apps really power the spy in your pocket,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “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.”
However, all may not be as it seems on the surface. Some reports have pointed out the Facebook app pre-installed on the devices is effectively an empty shell. When users select the app from the home screen, the full app will be downloaded. Security researcher Jane Manchun Wong says disabling this app will see the app revert to this initial state.
Regardless, wouldn’t a simple solution be to allow users to simply delete the app – placeholder or not – from their phones?
Should Samsung drop the Facebook pre-install partnership given the current state of play? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.