Facebook has long been the most battery draining app for mobile users. Sometimes after certain updates it seems to become even more demanding on phone batteries, and sometimes it seems to produce undue consumption even when it’s in the background. It seems that it’s not just a misconception by users that Facebook sometimes consumes too much battery, the app does this on purpose as part of some “experiments”.
Facebook accused by a former employee that it may run “tests” on users that can lead to excessive battery consumption
George Hayward, a former Facebook employee, confirmed to the New York Post that the social network’s mobile app has the ability to run so-called “negative tests.” So users chosen seemingly at random could receive a negative user experience on Facebook, and the results of these tests, collected through users’ behavior within the app at those times, are used to alter certain aspects of the user experience in the future.
Negative behaviors include excessive battery consumption, which Hayward says could have real-life consequences, not just online. The former Facebook employee says he voiced his concerns to a manager that a phone consuming more battery than expected could put people in real danger. The response he got was that by “hurting a few it could help most”.
Presumably not all scenarios were considered when the decision was made to perform negative tests on users’ batteries who didn’t know this was happening. But if someone had been in an emergency situation and their phone had been discharged because of Facebook testing, that person might not have gotten the help they needed in time. Also, rapid and repeated consumption of a mobile device’s battery can lead to hardware degradation of built-in cells. Thus, the battery life of devices is permanently affected and Facebook does not offer compensation for changing batteries or devices in cases where the batteries would completely fail.