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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

OnePlus latest smartphones: Beware of Facebook’s bloatware apps

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

Max Winebach found that in the latest smartphones from the OnePlus brand, Facebook applications are installed as system bloatware.

OnePlus is pre-loading its latest smartphones with Facebook bloatware; both Nord and OP series 8 enjoy some Facebook applications and services that cannot be deleted. This will certainly make many people turn up their noses since distributing a device with a similar component, in fact, means assuming that the personal data that will pass through it will have some utility for the partner.

OnePlus: this is not good …

The problem of bloatware software not only affects Huawei, Honor and Samsung devices; in fact, on many other brands third-party applications are pre-loaded that cannot be deleted from the phone memory. Again, it was a big (negative) surprise to discover that even OnePlus isn’t immune to it. The bloatware in question comes incredibly (irony mode on) from a team like Facebook, which has built its own empire on personal data.

From the range of OnePlus 8 devices and now also with the new Nord, users have noticed the presence of many Facebook-owned applications inside the smartphone, with numerous services active in the background. This can be clearly seen from a recent tweet from XDA senior member Max Winebach.

Winebach has indeed shared several screenshots that show how the Instagram app is updated through the Facebook app manager and not from the Google Play Store, as you would expect.

Some users on Reddit have pointed out that this has been happening for several months already; at least since the first devices of 2020. These Facebook services are integrated into the OxygenOS firmware as a system file. The only region excluded from this operation is China.

Android Police colleagues reached out to OnePlus for clarification, and the company confirmed that the brand’s latest three phone models enjoy Facebook apps, app manager, and social network’s active services as system apps. There are also Messenger, Instagram and Netflix. The company said that pre-installing these apps ensures better battery efficiency on Facebook and improves playback of HDR content on Netflix.

In addition to always acting in the background, it is not possible to know clearly what information is shared with Zuckerberg’s social network. In fact, you may even be able to uninstall them somehow, but the background processes will still work. Similar partnerships allow OnePlus to build a more aggressive business model, calming the cost of devices by virtue of complementary revenues deriving from agreements with third-party companies. However, when the behaviour of the software in question is not clear, the user has the duty to ask himself if everything is transparent and clear, so as to be fully aware of what is happening on his device, his personal data and the tracking of his activities.

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