After unannounced tests in 2014 when Facebook manipulated its customers' news feeds without notice nor consent, users complained bitterly. Well, Facebook has done it again. Either executives at the social networking giant haven't learned from their 2014 experience, or don't care.
This time, the unannounced test included Android app users where Facebook intentionally crashed their apps. Forbes magazine reported:
"Facebook conducted secret tests to determine the magnitude of its Android users’ Facebook addiction, according to a new report published yesterday. Like a bunch of crash test dummies, users of the Facebook app for Android were (several years ago) subject to intentional Facebook for Android app crashes without being informed of the tests. These tests were reportedly conducted so Facebook could determine user resilience to app deprivation–that is, whether users would find ways to use Facebook on their Android devices without the Google Play store app..."
Similarly, the dating service OKCupid irritated its users in 2014 after secret tests. People don't like being treated like lab rats. Ethically-challenged executives don't seem to understand this.
Supposedly, Facebook wanted to know if those Android app users would get replacement apps from other sources, or use the browser interface. Reportedly, Facebook has one billion Android app users. The news article didn't say whether Facebook performed similar tests on Apple iPhone app users. It seems wise to assume so.
The news report didn't mention whether Facebook slowed or manipulated the browser interface to see if users would switch to one of its mobile apps. It seems wise to assume so.
What are your opinions of the secret tests? Is this an acceptable "cost" for a service that promises to remain free?