On some Samsung phones, the Facebook app can not be completely removed. That can be vexing for the growing number of erstwhile Facebook users who want nothing to do with the app anymore because of privacy concerns, hate mongering and politics.
The social networking company says not to worry: disabling the app has the same effect as deleting it, a Facebook spokesperson told Fox News. What remains is something called a “stub.” If you click on the stub, it will prompt you to download the app, Facebook said.
Some phone manufacturers and carriers preinstall the app – or simply install the stub – according to Facebook.
This issue isn’t exactly new. Samsung phone users, for example, were complaining about this on user forums starting in the spring of last year. And some discussions go back even further.
And a forum thread created in the wake of the latest news points out that preinstalled smartphone apps have been around a long time. Colloquially known as “bloatware,” preinstalled apps have been installed on Windows PCs for years.
One of the prickliest issues dogging Facebook is data collection and user tracking. The worry is, even though the app is disabled, Facebook could still be collecting data.
However, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company Fox News that is not the case. Once the app is disabled, there is no data collection.
User tracking, beyond the personal information users volunteer, has been a sore point for Facebook and one of the main reasons Zuckerberg was grilled on Capitol Hill by lawmakers this past April.
Though Facebook insists that users control what they share, there’s a lot of disagreement about this.
Third-party tracking via Facebook’s “like” buttons is one of the “often-invisible methods for collecting and generating information on users without their knowledge or consent,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF also cites shadow profiles and “computational inferences that can conclude characteristics and preferences a user never told Facebook about.”
Samsung has yet to reply to a query from Fox News.
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