How to disable or block hidden Facebook bloatware on Android smartphones
How to disable hidden Facebook bloatware on Android smartphone: protect your privacy and optimize performance
Bloatware are unwanted pre-installed apps on smartphones and also Windows computers, which device manufacturers often add to generate additional revenue.
This article will explain how you can disable or block hidden Facebook bloatware on Android devices.
Bloatware is a term used to describe software that includes unnecessary features or services that hog system resources such as memory, processor power, and battery life without providing any significant benefit to the user. In the context of smartphones and computers, bloatware usually refers to pre-installed applications or programs that the manufacturer has added or even mobile carriers and cannot be easily removed.
Bloatware can come in various forms, such as:
1. pre-installed apps: applications that are pre-installed on a device and are often added by the manufacturer or mobile carrier to generate additional revenue or promote partnerships. These apps are often undesirable to the user and take up storage space and resources.
2. software bundles: sometimes bloatware is installed together with other programs, for example, when an antivirus program or toolbar is offered during the installation of another application. These additional programs are often installed by default if the user pays little attention to them.
3. overloaded software: some programs contain superfluous or unnecessarily complicated functions for most users, making the software sluggish and resource-intensive. Such overloaded programs can be considered bloatware, mainly if they affect system performance.
In general, bloatware is undesirable because it affects a device's performance and available storage space without providing any benefit to the user. In addition to the mandatory Google apps, many Android smartphones also have other preinstalled apps from companies like Facebook (Meta), Netflix, and Spotify, as well as other tools like antivirus scanners, apps for memory optimization, and so on.
Users could download these apps from the Play Store or the manufacturer's website whenever needed. However, pre-installed, these bloatware apps are difficult to remove.
However, there is an even more problematic type of bloatware that many users might need to learn about hidden apps from Facebook that are preinstalled on numerous Android smartphones.
These apps, such as the "Meta App Installer", the "Meta App Manager," and the "Meta Services", run in the background on all affected devices by default. Facebook or the Meta Group (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) has thus installed hidden apps on hundreds of millions of smartphones, via which programs can theoretically be subsequently installed and updated, bypassing the security checks of the Play Store. Moreover, the corporation could use these apps anytime, like a Trojan horse.
Users who install the Firewall AI app (https://www.protectstar.com/en/products/firewall-ai) on their Android devices are often shocked by the countless connections they see in the log data. Especially since they have not knowingly installed any apps from the Meta company.
For example, in the outgoing connections blocked by Firewall AI, users find apps such as the hidden app "Meta Services" connecting to Facebook's servers almost every minute.
While Facebook emphasizes that these hidden services are never exploited, such apps are problematic for several reasons. First, pre-installed apps have specific special rights that are not easily available to programs obtained via the Play Store and thus can also be a tempting attack point for malware. Furthermore, Facebook could use it to undermine various restrictions of Android.
How to block or disable the pre-installed Facebook apps?
The good news is that users can disable these hidden Facebook apps, even if they cannot be deleted completely. Users of Firewall AI can monitor the apps, such as "Meta Services", and disable them entirely so that the apps can no longer connect online to the Internet.
Additionally, we still recommend disabling the apps manually:
On current Samsung devices, you can do this by going to "Apps" in the system settings and then selecting "Your Apps", where you will find a sorting option to show system apps.
The Facebook apps in question, such as "Meta App Installer", "Meta App Manager," and "Meta Services," can then be selected and deactivated.
It is also helpful to manually remove all permissions from the apps. This can also be done via the system settings, then "Apps," and select the corresponding app under "Your apps". At the top, under "Privacy" you will find the setting "Permissions". Here, the app's permissions can be revoked.
Often, this step also helps if a bloatware app cannot be deactivated.
By the way, the apps in question might be reactivated after a system update, so it is recommended to check this occasionally in case Firewall AI is not used.
In the long run, however, it is essential that the consumer tells the smartphone manufacturers that such preinstalled apps are not okay and thus exerts pressure accordingly. After all, the consumer could act differently in his next purchase decision and prefer another device manufacturer.
But blocking and deactivating these apps could also have an effect in the long run if the developer, like Facebook, pays money to the device manufacturer but hardly receives any added value due to the services being deactivated by the user.