Gone are the days when Samsung phones would ship with plenty of bloatware. That’s software that you didn’t really need but which Samsung and its carrier partners preinstalled on the new phone. But Samsung phones still ship with built-in apps that you can’t delete. And it turns out that Facebook is one of them.
A Bloomberg report says that phones like the Galaxy S8 come with a built-in Facebook app that can’t be deleted. It can be disabled, yes, but that might not be enough for some people.
It’s unclear how many Samsung phone versions have Facebook preinstalled, or when Facebook and Samsung inked a deal to have Facebook on devices out of the box.
But Facebook had a tumultuous 2018, peppered with privacy scandals that prompted some users to delete their Facebook accounts, or at least remove the app from phones. That’s how people discovered they couldn’t uninstall the app from their devices, which is disturbing, considering Facebook’s massive data collection operations.
A Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg that a disabled version of the app acts like it’s been deleted, which means it doesn’t continue to collect data or send information to Facebook. Samsung also said that once the app is disabled, it’s no longer running.
However, the customer isn’t informed about any of this before a purchase is made. A report last week said that many top apps send data to Facebook from Android devices without the user’s consent, and that happens even if a person doesn’t have a Facebook account.
Facebook, of course, isn’t the only app that’s preinstalled on some devices, Bloomberg tells us. A T-Mobile Galaxy S9 comes with Facebook and Amazon preinstalled, but also Google apps like YouTube, Google Play Music, and Gmail. But Google is the company that makes Android, and device makers like Samsung have to preinstall Google apps on the devices they make.
Similarly, Twitter can be preinstalled on some phones, but the company said it wouldn’t collect any data about users unless they log into their Twitter accounts.
Other companies including LG, Sony, Verizon, and AT&T have similar deals with app makers, the report notes. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t preload any third-party app on its iPhones.