Facebook accused of crashing Android app to test users' loyalty
Facebook deliberately crashed its Android app for weeks at a time in a bid to test its users' dedication to the social network, it has been reported.
The company intentionally crashed the app for some users for several weeks to see if they would still visit Facebook's mobile site or abandon the platform altogether, according to The Information. Rather than give up on their news feed, users continued to visit the site, it reported.
The testing is alleged to be part of a contingency plan should Facebook's app run into difficulties with the Google Play Store.
Facebook has been contacted for comment.
It is not the first time Facebook has monitored its users' emotional responses. The company was roundly criticised for subjecting 600,000 users to psychological testing without their prior knowledge or consent in June 2014. It altered the tone of the users' news feed to highlight either positive or negative posts from their friends on their news feed and monitored their responses.
A spokesman for the network said at the time: “We do research to improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible."
The social network recently introduced a filter to prevent inadvertently reminding you of a photo or friendship you'd rather forget through its On This Day feature.
It has also created a feature to warn users if it suspects they are being spied on by government agents such as the NSA or GCHQ.
While Facebook doesn't specify exactly how it identifies such perpetrators, chief security officer Alex Stamos said: “To protect the integrity of our methods and processes, we often won't be able to explain how we attribute certain attacks to suspected attackers.” “We plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion."