This is an account of a technological failure spread over the period of a week, how I think Facebook takes random data from our phones and this is also an appeal to uninstall or disable the Facebook application from your Android phone, at least for a while.
So, Facebook had recently updated their Android application to the new UI and all of us were glad for the flatter, cleaner and faster application (barring the hiding of Most Recent stories inside the menu) but like every earlier version of the Facebook application this one had its own issues. A little lag over multi-tasking, the freezing of the back button etc.
One day, my brother’s Nexus 5 froze on Facebook and then after finally closing the application we went to the Settings just to take a look at how Facebook had performed, well, I was surprised. The RAM usage was over 300 MB which is too much for any application. Then there started another problem with his phone, if the screen had been turned off using the power button, it won’t turn on until he receives a call. These were minor and a reboot solved them anyway but the scale kept increasing gradually.
One morning, particularly about 4-5 days back. I took his phone and pressed the power button, nothing happened. The phone had not been responding and the black screen bug was back only this time a simple call wasn’t solving it. The screen was turning on, taking us to the lockscreen and then turning off again. Somehow, we managed to get the screen to unlock and then Force Stopped all processes which weren’t important. We increased the Screen Timeout so it may not turn off automatically as well. Then we started considering whether it was a software or hardware problem. It was obviously software, no hardware was buggy.
Until, the NFC stopped working along with the Bluetooth. It basically didn’t do anything while sending a file. Then we decided to Factory Reset it and thus, connected the phone to the PC to backup stuff. The phone didn’t connect at all. This was obviously a very big software bug. We tried downloading AirDroid from the Play Store but even applications couldn’t be installed, it downloaded to a 100% but then didn’t start installing. Now, to backup about 15 photos from about 400-500 to Google Drive it took about 20-25 minutes thanks to BSNL and their Super Speed. This was getting pretty intense.
The next step was a Factory Reset and thus, losing everything on the phone that isn’t backed up and we had no choice so Settings – Backup & Reset – Factory Reset – Now we had to just tap Erase Everything and the phone should turn off and erase stuff but touching on Erase Everything did nothing. We tapped again, we tapped twice. This was a very big software problem. I searched for LG Service Centres in Noida (where my brother lives) and there was one near his place and thus, we decided to not let the screen turn off and he’ll take it to the service centre when he returns back to Noida.
Randomly, when we had given all hope, my brother said, “Let’s remove Facebook anyway”. I said yes and as soon as he dragged it to Uninstall and tapped Yes.
Boom! 3 Messages, 2 Missed Calls, 2 Files sending via Bluetooth, 1 Facebook Messenger Chat Head and then ‘Powering Off’. Facebook as soon as it was uninstalled couldn’t paralyse the phone thus every process that had been blocked happened. The phone powered off and factory reset for no reason. It was a sight unlike any I had ever seen, yet a sad sight anyway.
During trouble shooting the bugs we kept on removing applications from the not-very-well-known developers because we trusted Facebook more. Why wouldn’t you? A large organisation which spends billions on purchases can make a pretty stable application, yes? But no, it was all Facebook’s doing.
The phone reset to factory settings and is pretty stable (like it always was) now. I removed Facebook from my Nexus 5 as well.
The bugs that the new Facebook application was causing in the order they appeared are summarised below:
- Sudden Freezing and the Back Button failing to work.
- Unexplained heavy RAM usage ranging between 300-450 MB.
- Once the screen is turned off, it cannot be turned on without starting some other process (Calls in our case).
- Hardware failing to work – Bluetooth, NFC, USB etc.
- Applications not being installed from the Play Store – Download reaches 100% but the installation never begins.
- Factory Reset fails to work.
I am in no way saying that you should stop using the application or Facebook itself, all I’m saying is that if you uninstall it from your phone, it will save time plus will prevent something this bad happening to your phone.
Now, I am not a very big fan of saying Facebook hogs and steals our personal data and stuff but when an application from the most suspicious Social Network takes up so much of RAM usage and has permissions which it obviously doesn’t need (text messages and more) it obviously raises a big red flag.
So, please beware and if you want, share this because this is not normal.