Facebook deliberately slowed down its app to make it malfunction, according to a former Meta employee

facebook deliberately slowed down its app to make it malfunction.webp.webp.webp
facebook deliberately slowed down its app to make it malfunction.webp.webp.webp

The Facebook app for Android was never well optimized, most users we always complained about its slowness, the weight and the much battery it used up. And the funny thing is that a large part of these problems were caused by Facebook itself, as explained by a former employee of the company. Said employee sued Meta, providing internal documentation that demonstrates the slowdown caused by the app.

Most developers open test their apps to ensure that their planned changes work correctly. Within these tests, those known as A/B Testing, or double-phase tests, allow developers decide between two options that are not entirely clear. Generally, in the process of making the application faster and more useful; quite the opposite of what Facebook seems to do.

Facebook slowed down its app to check interactions

Facebook on mobile via Frost

Facebook on mobile via Frost

Testing within an app is aimed at improving it, but this was not the case with Facebook apps, both on iOS and Android: the company it slowed down the loading of the images, the connections to the pages of the links and even made the application consume more battery. In a provocative way, this is demonstrated by a former Meta employee who is precisely engaged in the task of making the app worse.

George Hayward, an employee who worked at Meta from 2019 to 2022, has sued the company for a unfair dismissal after refusing to make Facebook app worse. According to the complaint, this common practice was called “negative testing.” And it was intended to test the patience of users and find out if they made more interactions with Facebook when they noticed that the application was not working as well as it should.

According to George, and according to the internal documentation that the former employee provided in the lawsuit (via The Register), Meta carried out negative tests for draw a relationship between app performance and app experience. This is how the Goal itself specifies:

We’d like to not only understand how user engagement and retention move, but also quantify people’s sensitivity to various changes in performance.“.

One of the usual negative tests was increase the latency with which the application loaded the contents. Photos that took a while to appear, pages that lingered as if the Internet were slow… I’m sure that more than one Facebook user on a mobile phone is familiar with this behavior of the app. Even the high impact on the battery: negative tests artificially increased app consumption.

According to the document and the statements of George Hayward, Goal Facebook has been deliberately slowing down its application since 2016 and always in the form of controlled tests. Even today: according to George’s statements, he was fired by Meta after refusing to project a negative test in 2022. As a defense, and after consulting The Register, Meta replied that “Mr. Hayward’s allegations are without foundation“.

Via | The Register