FACEBOOK-BASED whistleblowers have spilled the beans on a couple of less public programmes at the firm, including loyalty tests on its users and their patience, and ways of getting around the Android store.
Facebook is a testing thing, and has already been in trouble for carrying out mood experiments on its unfortunate punters, and apologised for these mind games.
A report on The Information news site said that Facebook has repeatedly made apps crash to see how users react. The good news for Facebook, presumably, is that people did not get annoyed with the firm and simply switched to the web version.
It costs decent money to read the content on The Information, but the brief snatch available to non-subscribers suggests that the real meat here is in how Facebook is preparing to cope in a world where it gets no love from Google.
"Facebook has been secretly preparing contingency measures to allow its apps to operate on Android phones without going through Google's app store, according to people who have been involved in different parts of the strategy," said the introduction to the report.
"Facebook's goal is to be ready in case it has an intractable conflict with Google, which operates the Android mobile operating system, over future rules governing how apps can function on Android."
We have asked Facebook to comment on this, and hopefully explain itself. We had thought that the people Petri dish phase of experimentation was over, not least because of the reaction of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) in 2014.
EPIC said following revelations about a mood experiment by Facebook that the social network did a very bad thing and should not get away with it.
"The company purposefully messed with people's minds," said EPIC at the time as it introduced a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission.
"At the time of the experiment, Facebook did not state in the Data Use Policy that user data would be used for research purposes. Facebook also failed to inform users that their personal information would be shared with researchers." µ
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