Heads-Up: Facebook Applications May Purposefully Exhaust Batteries Of iPhone And Android Devices.

by | Mar 7, 2024

An ex-employee says that Facebook has been draining users’ phone batteries without their permission and that they were fired for objecting to the practise. According to a data scientist who was once employed by Meta, Facebook apps may purposefully exhaust the batteries of both iPhones and Android users cellphones in order to study and observe how the low battery power affects apps performance.

Data scientist George Hayward, 33, who began working on the messaging app in October 2019, claims that Facebook-parent Meta has been utilising “negative testing” for more than five years.

Hayward claimed in a now-withdrawn complaint that he had seen an internal document titled “How to execute intelligent negative tests” that described the procedure and included examples dating back to 2016.

According to that document, Meta has been applying “negative tests” across all of its platforms, which according to current statistics have 2.96 billion users. They test new features and track how quickly the app responds, loads graphics, and scrolls news feeds in order to “measure impact.”

What is Negative Testing?

In order to quantify effect, negative testing purposefully minimise some user experiences. In order to test features or problems like the app’s speed or how quickly an image could load, tech companies might “covertly” deplete a user’s mobile battery through negative testing.

It’s obvious that a programme might be set to a mode that drains the battery quickly, and it seems completely feasible that Meta incorporated this functionality into applications to test them.

It appears more difficult to think that the feature would be deployed to production programmes, much less tested on users covertly.

According to Hayward, the evidence for his “belief” that the function (Negative testing) was utilised on user phones comes from an internal document that included instances of these testing. The report also implies that he was dismissed for refusing to perform the task himself, which again suggests he was being requested to perform the task for unaware users, but refrains from officially saying this as truth.

In October 2019, Hayward began earning a six-figure income. He worked on the Facebook Messenger app development team. Because it enables users to text, call, and even video call one another, Facebook Messenger is a vital tool for communication in many areas.

With 1.3 billion monthly active users, Messenger is the fourth most popular social media network, according to the Digital 2021 Global Overview Report.

In the lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, it is argued that depriving someone of their phone’s power puts them in danger, particularly in circumstances where they must communicate with others, such as the police or other emergency responders who may be anybody.

He declined to take the negative test on user’s devices, and his boss did not take well to his saying, “No, that’s unlawful.” It appears that Hayward was fired on November 9 of last year, which also happened to be the day that Meta made major layoffs. The complaint contests the coincidence theory.