Samsung blocking users from uninstalling Facebook on phone? Here’s the whole truth

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New Delhi | Updated: January 10, 2019 11:38:38 AM

Select Samsung phones have Facebook’s app pre-installed and users cannot delete it from their phones, only disable it.

(Source: Reuters)

Samsung was reported to block its users from uninstalling the Facebook app from some of its phones. A report by Bloomberg says that select Samsung phones have Facebook’s app pre-installed and users cannot delete it from their phones, only disable it. While this is partly true, it’s not the complete story.

The pre-installed Facebook app is actually just a stub

The pre-installed Facebook app on the select Samsung devices is a stub that prompts its users to download updates for the main Facebook app. This means that the users cannot access or log in to Facebook unless they update the placeholder app. The stub is, in reality, the Facebook App Manager/Installer, which is a completely different entity from the main Facebook app.

App researcher Jane Wong also confirmed in a tweet that the aforementioned app is merely a non-functional shell. So, until the user taps on the stub and update the app as it prompts, the Facebook stub will not be collecting any data from your phone.

A Facebook spokesperson was quoted by Bloomberg saying that the disabled version of the app acts like it is no longer on the device, but the app does not collect data or sends information back to Facebook.

FinancialExpress.com tested the stub app on a few Samsung Galaxy phones and discovered that the disabled app indeed does nothing but prompt the user to install the update to use Facebook.

But it still can’t be removed as debate rages on

But what is the option for those users who really do not want to use Facebook on their phone, owing to the recent privacy scandals that rocked the company last year.

And it is not just Samsung, most phone manufacturers, including Xiaomi, LG, Sony, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo ship their smartphones with pre-installed third-party apps that cannot be removed by users.

Even Nokia and OnePlus who use near-stock Android software on their phones, which is very much like Google’s own Pixel phones, have a couple of third-party apps pre-installed on them.

Nick Winke, a photographer, told Bloomberg News: “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… 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.”

Here’s how to enable or disable Facebook updates

If you are on a digital detox, want nothing to do with Facebook or just find that Facebook icon annoying, here are some procedure to do away with the facebook stub for your peace of mind.

To disable all updates from the social media giant: Tap open the mobile phone’s device settings and then click on Application Manager or Apps.

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Find and click on Facebook App Installer. Disable it to turn updates off or tap Enable to turn updates on.

Then find Facebook App Manager and similarly tap Disable to turn updates off or Enable them to turn updates on.

If the Facebook App Installer or Facebook App Manager cannot be seen in your application list, see to it that you are viewing all apps which include disabled or system apps on your device.

Users must note that to turn all updates on or off, they might need to change their update settings in the Play Store.

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