Former Facebook Employee Claims That The Messenger App Intentionally Drains Phone Batteries

This method is known as “negative testing” and they did it without the user’s knowledge.
(credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

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The Messenger app was originally known as Facebook Chat in 2008. According to Blogging Wizard, the Messenger app has more than 1.3 billion active users around the world and it’s the second most popular messaging app worldwide. It’s no exaggeration to say the app is important to a great deal of people.

The New York Post reports that a former Facebook employee who was working on the Messenger app, is alleging in a lawsuit that the company secretly drains its users’ phone battery as part of its “negative testing” procedure.

This practice, according to data scientist George Hayward, involves running down a user’s phone battery covertly to test features or issues such as app speed or image loading. Hayward claims he was fired for refusing to participate in this testing and argues that it can harm individuals.

According to the lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company, Meta, draining someone’s phone battery can put them in danger, especially if they need to communicate with authorities or rescue workers.

Hayward, claims that he was fired after refusing to participate in the negative testing and argues that it is unethical. He believes Facebook has engaged in this practice based on an internal training document he was given titled “How to run thoughtful negative tests”. He considers the document to be disturbing.

The public is likely unaware that social media companies have the capability to intentionally drain a phone battery, says Hayward’s lawyer, Dan Kaiser. The lawsuit, which sought unspecified damages, has been withdrawn as Hayward must go to arbitration, but he still stands by his allegations.

Kaiser, considers the practice of intentionally draining a phone battery to be illegal and is upset that anyone can manipulate the battery of a phone.

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