Facebook have been in the news a lot lately and as per usual, not for the right things. Their stance on fake news and misinformation has drawn the ire of many people, governments and most importantly for Facebook, advertisers.
Considering that their name is mud in so many parts of the world these days it is surprising that OnePlus are partnering with Facebook to have their services automatically installed on all OnePlus smartphones. This year OnePlus have launched their phones with Facebook bloatware installed on their devices — with some of them unable to be uninstalled.
Max Weinbach of XDA noted that there was a Facebook App Manager on his new OnePlus smartphone.
I hate this so much pic.twitter.com/0cViyKaMGV
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) August 1, 2020
Further investigation by Android Police showed that they had this manager pre-installed on all three OnePlus smartphones that have released this year. OnePlus confirmed to them that their smartphones this year all include Facebook App Installer, Facebook App Manager, and Facebook Services as system apps. Along with that the main Facebook app, Facebook Messenger and Instagram are also included on the device but not as system apps (and can thus be uninstalled).
The Facebook services apps can be disabled in the settings of the phone but not uninstalled. At this stage it seems to not affect the functionality of the phone disabling these services. We encourage you to disable these services if you do have them on your device because they do run in the background and updates from the Play Store are always a safer option.
OnePlus have said that this was a suggestion from users to allow better battery efficiency of the Facebook apps (it always amazed me that a tech company as big as Facebook couldn’t build a decent app to save themselves).
The app managers on the phones allow for the usable apps to be updated by Facebook and not from the Play Store — which is a very sketchy practice considering Facebook’s poor history with user data. It is unclear just what data is shared with Facebook when these services connect to the mothership to check for updates etc.
OnePlus have said that they will continue to install these apps and services on their devices sold in Europe, India and North America which is a strange decision indeed. The apps though will not be forced upon older phones with updates, just on those from this year. Most people are already wary of Facebook and their data practices and having their services installed deep into the system of a device will set off alarm bells with many people.
Hopefully OnePlus will reconsider this decision going forwards because one of the best things about OnePlus smartphones was their lack of bloatware and hidden services. Not any more.