back to article Don't mind Facebook, just putting its own browser in its Android app

Meta's Facebook has been testing its own custom-browser engine within its Android app and plans to distribute the code more widely, ostensibly for the sake of better security and an improved user experience. Facebook on Android by default chooses to have users open web links inside the app rather than in the mobile browser …

  1. Sp1z

    "...like when a scammer tries to redirect users to a malicious site."

    Yeah, facebook.com

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      I don't believe it

      Facebook has produced a browser that I trust less than Google.

      However Google interprets "don't be evil" Zuckerberg's "be evil" is worse.

  2. badflorist Bronze badge

    Our Ethical default? !Ethical

    "If they choose, people can use the menu inside our in-app browser to select the option to open links inside the system browser."

    So sad that Facebook is still a thing.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

      I didn’t know that Faecebook was still relevant. I don’t know anybody who still uses it, or is brave enough to admit that they use it.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

        "I didn’t know that Faecebook was still relevant. I don’t know anybody who still uses it"

        Sadly, Facebook does not turn irrelevant by just saying so.

        I have never been an FB user but the Wikipedia article states that they have close to 3 Billion users despite being blocked in China (and elsewhere) and is one of the most visited websites.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

          I didn't say so, or anything. I just don't hear much about it anymore because most people I know have quit o are too embarrassed to admit they still use it.

          It has an awful stigma for being the home of gullible morons.

          1. Lis

            Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

            @werdsmith

            Wow, your fucking superiority complex must be hard to live with.

            Signed "a gullible moron"

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

              @Lis

              The sting of this truth often invoked an indignant embarrassed response such as yours.

              1. Lis
                FAIL

                Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

                "The sting of this truth often invoked an indignant embarrassed response such as yours."

                Indignant? Too right. Embarrassed. No. If I would have been embarrassed about using Facebook I wouldn't have admitted to it would I?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

                  You would if you were a moron as he suggested.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

              How did he demonstrate a superiority complex? He merely stated that he no longer uses and that nobody he knows uses it...

              That's pretty much the case for me too. I haven't used Facebook in over 10 years and most of people I know that use it (which is a very small group) are in very specific demographics:

              1. Pensioners (biased towards women).

              2. Women aged between 30 and 50.

              3. People from overseas (South Africans, Kiwis, Aussies etc).

              Basically, it's overwhelmingly women staying in touch with their mums. Blokes stay in touch with their dads via the medium of public establishments or the good old fashioned phone.

              My mum (pensioner) is more likely to want to see photographs of stuff like the kids etc, so looks at Facebook where my wife (late 30s) posts pictures. My dad on the other hand (grumpy old manc), will just pick up the phone and waits until he comes round to see the kids. He isn't interested in photographs, he'd much rather just be with the kids.

              It's the same with my mother in law (pensioner) and my wife's cousins (female, 30's).

              It's widely known by marketing people that this is the case and why certain marketing campaigns target Facebook specifically, because they know hitting their demographic is like shooting fish in a barrel on there.

              It is also why you see a lot of political targeting and guff on there, because a large proportion of the people on there are likely to vote (pensioners) and their views are likely to be respected, even if they have been skewed by the bullshit on the platform (pensioners).

              Facebook has basically turned into a mechanism that is used to subvert the "respect your elders" mantra and is used to sway a large number of active voters. Politicians used to do this with pension rises and various other hand outs to pensioners, now they don't have to. It's way cheaper to manipulate people several times a day via an app they already use several times a day.

              I don't consider myself superior for not using Facebook...because that would be untrue...I consider myself to be far cleaner though. Just like avoiding McDonald's and smoking, avoiding Facebook can only be beneficial to your health. Physically and psychologically.

              Now I fully expect you to school me on how 48% of the "user base" of Facebook is male...and 52% is female and that actually quite a few younger people below the age of 30 use facebook as per some sort of graph you find on Google.

              However, I'd like to point out that most of those graphs show "overall" users, not active users. Sure, 50 million people in the UK have a Facebook account and technically that makes them users...but the proportion of those accounts that could be considered "active" is much, much smaller.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

            Check the comments on their other friends pages. They didn't quit Facebook, they just stopped commenting on your posts...

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

              If that even made sense…

          3. stungebag

            Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

            It's also the place where most villages, clubs etc. communicate. The only thing comparable is nextdoor.com which many trust less than FB.

          4. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

            "It has an awful stigma for being the home of gullible morons."

            Werd up, bro.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

        For me it's never been about people using it. If I know them then they know to contact me via email.

        No, what smacks my gob is the number of commercial organisations, and even (quasi-)governmental outfits, which only publish news and updates on the Farcebok and/or Twatter things. Quite often in closed groups. (I'm not entirely sure what that means, and I might have the terminology wrong, but I mean on pages that require a TWITFACE login to access.) And despite the fact that they've got their own domains and web sites.

        Just what the facking feck is that about?

        -A.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

          "Just what the facking feck is that about?"

          Lack of business sense.

          I ignore any business pestering me to buy something from them that operates with a gmail address. Any free email service for that matter. If they don't have and use their own domain, I can't take them seriously. I have a gmail address I got years and years ago and it's used for nearly nothing. I think I still have a couple of backup things going to it, but I only check it on the other computer every once in a while. I don't do anything Google on my laptop. The new cheesegrater going into service will signal the end of the gmail account.

      3. TheMaskedMan

        Re: Our Ethical default? !Ethical

        I didn’t know that Faecebook was still relevant. I don’t know anybody who still uses it, or is brave enough to admit that they use it.

        I have an account, which I rarely use. When I do, it's to update one or two Facebook pages that I use to promote my products, or to read one of the groups specific to things I do. Never, ever do I feel the need to report what I had for lunch to the wider world.

        The key to determining Facebook's relevance is, to my mind, YouTube. I watch many tutorial videos (ad blocked, natch) related to programming, hardware wrangling, Blender and other interesting toys. They all exhort viewers to like, subscribe, follow them on Twitter (hell no) or join their discord (likewise). I haven't seen anyone even mention Facebook in a long, long time.

        Clearly, the cool kids (I use the term loosely as some of the content producers I watch are many years beyond youth) have moved on, leaving Facebook to the kind of demographics described elsewhere in this thread.

        The sooner it goes the way of GeoCities et al the better!

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Meta's spokesperson observed that this is more than some rival apps allow"

    Oh, so other people doing bad things is a good excuse for you to not do the right thing.

    Riiiight.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Devil

      Re: "Meta's spokesperson observed that this is more than some rival apps allow"

      So in another context that quote could be "yes, we cut one of your legs off, admittedly - but the other guy wanted to cut both of them off, so that makes us the good guys, right?"

      Yeah, I think I'll pass thanks.

      1. EVP Silver badge

        Re: "Meta's spokesperson observed that this is more than some rival apps allow"

        "But but, we're giving you this wheelchair for 'free', so what do you need your legs for anymore, right?"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "better security and an improved user experience"

    But?... Who?... Why?... <speechless!>

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuck:. Just FOAD

  6. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Full explanation?

    "comes at the cost of users' [...] browser settings related to privacy, accessibility, and extensions"

    So no surprises there really. Once you've sold your soul to Farcebook there's no way back.

  7. Philip Storry

    We found a large attack surface area, so we increased it...

    Good job, Meta.

    You found a problem - people not accepting updates meant a larger attack surface area. So you chose to try and fix this by... increasing the attack surface area.

    Yeah. That's a good solution.

    Honestly, just be honest and tell us it's about tracking. Or if you actually cared about the issues of updating software, perhaps lobby for some kind of regulation in that area?

    I hope that this has an off button so that I can reduce my risk by opening links in WebView, which I always update...

    1. Marki Mark
      Meh

      Re: We found a large attack surface area, so we increased it...

      I hope that this has an off

      The don't use Facebook button?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: We found a large attack surface area, so we increased it...

        >The don't use Facebook button?

        From my reading of the article, you probably don't want to install FB. The impression I got was that FB would effectively replace Chrome with FB-WebView/Chrome as the default browser; so doing anything that invokes the browser will result in FB-Chrome being loaded...

    2. Stu J

      Re: We found a large attack surface area, so we increased it...

      Just use m.facebook.com and www.messenger.com (in Desktop mode) in DuckDuckGo... I've not had the Facebook App enabled on my phone for years now.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Additionally, people who do not wish to use all the features of our technologies (including the in-app browser) are able to access Facebook and Instagram through the web instead of our apps."

    Yes for a worst user experience, especially on mobile browsers as features such as the messaging don't work instead telling you to download the app, unless you fetch the desktop version of the site and then by some miracle it works fine, if you can deal with the fact that the websites UI elements then become tiny on the screen.

    So it clear that FB are deliberately making their mobile site less usable to push people to download their apps.

    1. C A H

      Exactly that. It even lies that it's currently being upgraded or something between those lines. You're not able to post photos in groups anymore . Unfortunately I don't see people moving over no matter how much we try to open their eyes. There are some very niche groups I am in and tried to get them to post some of the information outside Fb but it fell on deaf ears...

    2. Steve Graham

      After some experimentation, I found that it was possible to get Fakebook working, including messaging, on my phone by using the Kiwi browser. It's the only Android browser I know of that can use full-fat Chrome extensions.

      So I can have ScriptSafe, Ublock Origin, and -- most importantly -- FBP, which removes "Sponsored Posts" (i.e. ads) from the screen. This makes Fakebook tolerable.

      I live in a small seaside village (plenty of ritirees, so that's the demographic) and it's useful to keep up with what's going on.

  9. RegGuy1 Silver badge
    Stop

    DO NOT -- EVER -- USE APPS

    It isn't rocket science. Don't use apps. Ever.

    OK, one exception: install the Firefox app. Then you never need to use Chrome ever again. Yes I know it's built in but that's why, so Google can snoop.

    Now using Firefox note how many websites tell you it's better with their app. Have you ever wondered why? They all do it.

    Refuse. Just use the website. It's your data. Stop giving it away.

    No, don't agree? Too easy to use Chrome. It must be ok because that big green button says 'download our app'. Well then you're the fool.

    DON'T DO IT

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DO NOT -- EVER -- USE APPS

      Or use Edge on Android.

  10. Wolfclaw

    One more reason to uninstall Facebook and delete your data, "IF" it ever gets deleted, we only have their word and their word is worth jack shit !

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FB on my smartphone

    If I could completely remove the FB application from my smartphone, I would. Sadly, the best I can do is disable it and remove it from all the screens. Even after disabling it, it feels like I've got a live grenade sewn into my coat pocket.

  12. Jan K. Bronze badge

    "...an improved user experience."

    Of course.

    We all know, what that means...

    1. Sampler

      You're not the user, you're the product..

  13. ecofeco Silver badge

    FFS

    What's even worse is people WILL use it.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: FFS

      "What's even worse is people WILL use it."

      Not even Duct Tape can fix stupid and it's good for holding the universe together. While it doesn't fix stupid, it will muffle the sound.

  14. OldCrow 1975

    Facebook is persona non grata.

    Facebook and Twitter have done great damage to the US AND THE WORLD. I HAVE LEFT Facebook and will never use this communist social media again.

  15. xyz123

    Facebooks internal motto (seriously) is "define evil for me"

    Google's used to be "don't be evil" but now is "don't be caught being evil" and they don't understand how thats subject to interpretation.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uninstalling the virus...

  17. Binraider Silver badge

    Given how terrible the ad feed has become I’ll be leaving FB right after I sort out the contact list for more traditional methods…

  18. big col

    Facebook can have its uses

    Unfortunately FacFacebok is a necessary evil. I run a charity for a very rare genetic disorder. I also had a support website way back in 1996. We support families world wide, and while a few people contact us via the website, almost all newly diagnosed families will find us on Facebook.

    The same goes for many conditions. The ability to share experiences, connect with others and call families world wide and at the same time to have language being a barrier to communication has made it a very useful tool for us to fulfill our support role. It is evil but unfortunately for now we have nothing to replace it with

  19. MJI Silver badge

    All I want

    Is the ability to unistall rather than disable wiithout having to root the phone.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like