The unboxing of new gadgets is supposed to be exciting. While that new gadget smell is pretty great, excitement often turns to frustration when the previously proud new owners discover a bunch of bloatware clogging up their shiny new tech. Bloatware is that software consumers generally don’t want or need, but comes preinstalled on a new device thanks to partnerships forged between phone and app manufacturers.
While mobile phone manufacturer Samsung has distanced itself from massive amounts of bloatware, their new phones still include built-in apps that can’t be deleted. It turns out Facebook is one of those apps – and people are pissed.
According to Bloomberg, some phones, such as the Galaxy S8, come with a Facebook app preinstalled. The app can be disabled but not deleted. What does it even mean to simply disable an app?
It is unclear how many phones are shipped to consumers this way or when the deal leading to the app’s preinstallation was made.
One Galaxy S8 owner had this to say:
“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.”
Thankfully, tech consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their digital rights and the issue of online and tech privacy, partly thanks to Facebook’s tumultuous 2018 and their near constant slip-ups. As a result, some social media users have gone so far as to delete social media apps from their phones or delete their Facebook accounts altogether, in protest of the glaring problems with the social media giant’s information-sharing practices. Herein lies the problem for some Samsung phone owners – after deleting their actual Facebook accounts, they’re still left with the app on their phones.
This has led many Android phone users to question why Samsung made a deal with the social media giant to install a permanent version of Facebook on their phones. Some have, ironically, taken to social media to complain:
— benn achilleas (@mrbennbenn) December 22, 2018
@samsung I want to delete my Facebook account from my Samsung 7 edge. If I can't delete it I will buy another brand phone and this will be my last Samsung. Please update the software and give us the option to remove Facebook ASAP.#byebyefacebook #samsung
— Moritz (@moritzkooistra) April 11, 2018
A spokesperson for Facebook told Bloomberg that the disabled app “acts like it’s been deleted.” This implies that it doesn’t continue to collect data or communicate with Facebook, but how can the user be sure? While Facebook did admit that deals are made between phone manufacturers, and operating system and mobile operators around the world, the social media giant did not disclose the financial nature of the agreement with Samsung or any other company.
Communication between both phone manufacturers and carriers and their customers has always been lacking. This situation is no different – consumers are not informed of what may be on their new phone or of what may not be removable prior to purchase.
Twitter’s app also comes preinstalled on some phones, but Twitter has publicly stated that it won’t collect any data unless a user is logged into their accounts. It is already known that Facebook collects data and tracks non-users, leading many phone owners to rightly question if they are be tracked even after the app is disabled. A new report revealed just last week that many apps send data to Android devices without consent and even if the user doesn’t have a Facebook account.
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.
Other phone manufacturers, including LG, Sony, Verizon, and AT&T, have made similar deals with app creators. While Apple,maker of the popular iPhone, doesn’t preinstall Facebook or any third-party app on its phones, the company has come under fire for not allowing users to delete apps in the past.
Consumer-advocacy groups are skeptical of arrangements between manufacturers and app creators. According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy:
“It’s only recently that people have become to understand that these apps really power the spy in your pocket. 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.”
At least one Galaxy user is considering purchasing a phone made by a different manufacturer when the time comes:
“I understand Samsung is trying to make it easy for the user, but I don’t like that it does not allow me to uninstall.”
He probably isn’t alone in that sentiment.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.