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OnePlus under fire for pre-installing Facebook services that can’t be removed

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OnePlus is facing criticism for pre-installing Facebook apps on its newest smartphones—and apparently the bloatware can’t be fully removed. 

The apps can be found on the new OnePlus 8, 8 Pro, and Nord models; all three come with the Facebook App Installer, Facebook App Manager, and Facebook Services as system apps, according to Android Police, which noticed the issue. 

The bloatware paves the way for the social media company to install the Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram apps directly on your phone, without going through the Google Play Store. Users can choose to uninstall the apps. But according to OnePlus owners, the Facebook services can’t be removed; they can only be disabled.

Doing so will prevent the services from working in the background. However, small amounts of data can still be sent to Facebook, reported one OnePlus 8 Pro owner who raised the issue in June.

OnePlus confirmed to PCMag the preinstallation is real. “The OnePlus 8 Series and Nord have these apps and services pre-installed. Older phones will not get these apps and services with later updates,” a company spokesperson said. 

OnePlus declined to offer an explanation. But over the years, Facebook has been striking deals with vendors to bundle its software with their smartphones. Presumably, the smartphone makers get paid a fee. Facebook, meanwhile, gets access to scores of potential users. 

The issue was brought up last year when Bloomberg reported on how Samsung users had no way to uninstall the Facebook services on their Galaxy devices. Now OnePlus users on the company’s latest smartphones are also complaining at a time when Facebook’s reputation has taken a dive. 

“Can we please have a OnePlus experience free of big data influence?” wrote one user in the company’s forums. “Please let us decide if we want to install an app or not.”

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