Samsung phone users discover they can't delete Facebook app

Samsung users see this page when they try to delete Facebook app.                  Screenshot by Carrie Mihalcik  CNET

It seems like Facebook has a list of partners with whom it has deals for "permanent apps", in other words, Facebook can not be deleted from phones that are sold by those partners, it seems.

Nick Winke, a photographer in the Pacific northwest, was perusing internet forums when he came across a complaint that alarmed him: On certain Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones, users aren't allowed to delete the Facebook app. "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". If you can not delete an app, it means that you don't have full control over your experience on your shiny new phone and it feels like they don't want to leave your phone and away from your precious data.

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. "We the consumer should have a say in what we want and don't want on our products". Unfortunately, you can't remove or uninstall majority like other downloaded apps from the Google PlayStore.

Facebook has signed agreements (the total number of which is still unknown) with smartphone manufacturers to not only pre-install its app but to prevent users from deleting it. The company further claims that whether the app is removable depends on pre-install deals Facebook has made with various phone manufacturers, OS providers, and carriers.

Whereas Facebook stated that a disabled version of their app behaves like a deleted one, and it doesn't collect data or send any information back to its servers.

Pre-installed apps are not a new phenomenon.

Facebook added: "We do this in a transparent manner by explaining the practice through our Data Policy and Cookies Policy, and by using Google's advertising identifier, which can be controlled centrally by people using their device settings".

However, the customer isn't informed about any of this before a purchase is made.

Consumer-advocacy groups have been skeptical of such arrangements for years, according to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. "Time to move on", Twitter user Gopinath Pandalai wrote in October. "Been a Samsung customer for 10 years".

Another user, Justin McMurry, tweeted in December about concerns over the potential privacy threat posed by the Facebook app.

One such app, called the Samsung Mobile, required permission to access 36 types of information about you and your friends on Facebook. "If I can't delete it, this will be the last Samsung product I ever own".

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