Facebook Messenger (Photo: ShutterStock)
Is your smartphone battery running out faster?
It's probably not just in your head
George Hayward, a former analyst at Meta (Facebook), filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that it intentionally damaged the battery performance of smartphones that had the instant messaging application Facebook Messenger installed.
According to the report, published in the New York Post, Hayward was fired from the company in 2019 after he allegedly refused to take part in "negative testing" - which allows the company to secretly damage the performance of the device to verify the system's durability in extreme situations, and to test how fast the application works .
"I told the manager that it could hurt somebody, and she said that by hurting some we could help the masses," Hayward claimed in the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, adding: "I refused to do that test. It turns out that if you tell your manager, 'No, it's illegal ', it's not going well."
Hayward worked in the development department of Facebook's Messenger app, which allows users to send messages or make phone and video calls — "an essential communication tool in many countries," he added.
"I told the manager that it could hurt someone, and she said that by hurting some we can help the masses" (Photo: ShutterStock)
Hayward said he doesn't know how many people were affected by Facebook's negative tests, but believes the company engaged in the practice because he received an internal training document titled "How to Run Thoughtful Negative Tests," which included examples of experiments already underway.
"I've never seen a more horrible document in my career," Hayward said.
"It's likely that most people have no idea that Facebook or other social networks can intentionally drain a cell phone's battery," said Hayward's attorney, Dan Kaiser.
The suit, which sought unspecified damages, has since been put on hold as the two sides entered into a mediation process, said the lawyer, who added that Howard was behind the allegations.
Claims about battery drain from Facebook Messenger were published as early as 2016, so according to studies it was found that removing the application improves the performance of the smartphone by about 15 percent.
Not surprisingly, the company denied the reports.