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OnePlus phones ship with Facebook bloatware that can’t be uninstalled

OnePlus 8
(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

Bloatware has always been a major issue that has been crippling almost all Android smartphones apart from the Pixel series, Android One phones and the good old Nexus lineup. Since most of these pre-installed apps cannot be removed at the user end, these applications add unwanted load on the resources and at times have been found stealing user data too.

OnePlus has always highlighted its Android skin OxygenOS as a "near-stock Android experience" and was able to attract the loyal Nexus fan base instantly. However, users have reported that their OnePlus devices are shipping with uninstallable bloatware from Facebook, which is already infamous for its privacy-related issues.

Max Weinbach from XDA-developers had recently posted a series of tweets highlighting the fact that his brand-new OnePlus phone came with pre-installed Facebook services and Facebook App Installer preinstalled. He mentioned that in case you have an old version of any apps from Facebook family, the app automatically gets updated using Facebook services instead of Play Store.

OnePlus has confirmed to AndroiPolice that “The OnePlus 8, 8 Pro, and Nord all include the Facebook App Installer, Facebook App Manager, and Facebook Services as system apps.” The Facebook app, Messenger, and Instagram apps along with Netflix application were found to be preinstalled on these phones.

(Image credit: AndroidPolice)

The company explains that pre-installing these Facebook apps “ensures better battery efficiency on Facebook” and “enhances HDR playback on Netflix.”

OnePlus’s logic is as vague as it can be since pre-installing apps or adding bloatware hardly improves the performance of a specific application. It can, however, put user privacy at risk by allowing third-party applications to access personal information without user permission or knowledge.

Though users can uninstall applications like Facebook, Instagram and Messenger etc. however, uninstalling the background applications like Facebook services and Facebook App Installer is not easy for a regular user. The fact that these applications were found to be communicating to Facebook’s servers using phone data and can force install a non-play store version of the Facebook app is extremely dangerous since there will be no way to monitor its activity.