According to a new bombshell report, Facebook conducted a secret test on its users several years ago to determine just how addicted they were to using the site’s Android app. According to the report from The Information, Facebook intentionally crashed its Android app without telling users in order to track their “resilience”—AKA, what alternative routes people took to use the site.
“Facebook has tested the loyalty and patience of Android users by secretly introducing artificial errors that would automatically crash the app for hours at a time, “ wrote reporter Amir Efrati, quoting a confidential source. “The purpose of the test, which happened several years ago, was to see at what threshold would a person ditch the Facebook app altogether. The company wasn’t able to reach the threshold.”
In other words, users are hooked on the social media giant—so hooked that a nonfunctioning app won’t even slow them down. However, this one-time test raises all kinds of ethical issues. Many users were outraged in 2014 to discover that Facebook had manipulated the content on many people’s News Feeds to study whether or not the site could affect their emotions. While intentionally crashing an app isn’t as creepy as that, it’s still toying with users in an uncomfortable way.