Facebook Secretly Draining User Batteries

February 14, 2023

From the New York Post:

The practice, known as “negative testing,” allows tech companies to “surreptitiously” run down someone’s mobile juice in the name of testing features or issues such as how fast their app runs or how an image might load, according to data scientist George Hayward.

Why It Matters

If Meta/Facebook is doing this, it can explain weird drops in battery from their apps not as a glitch or error, but as an intentional issue. A dead battery can be a problem if you’re trying to snag a ride share or such when you’re in a place where you cannot charge. If true, this is another reason to keep the apps off your phone.

A Personal Anecdote

My wife’s phone was off during an event for three hours in which Instagram drained her battery from 60% to 1% and then 0 per iOS’s battery health screen. This is an incredible amount of power usage for an app that was not actively being run/looked at.

Go Deeper

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.