Perhaps one of the more bizarre tests I have heard of yet. Facebook wanted to see just how loyal it’s users are so they tried to force people off the platform. Facebook forced the app to crash on Android in an effort to see just how far they could push users into abandoning the service completely.
The Information reports that Facebook wanted to test user loyalty so they sabotaged the mobile app on Android with errors that caused it to crash for hours on end. It is unclear how many users were affected and where or when the tests took place however one thing that is clear is that users were willing to sit through the errors.
A person familiar with the actual tests told The Information that; “People never stopped coming back.” In fact what they discovered is that people who were affected for long periods defaulted to the mobile browser version of Facebook rather than give up on the social network entirely.
This is not the first time Facebook has conducted tests to monitor an emotional response from its users. Facebook came under heavy fire for subjecting 600,000 users to psychological testing without consent or prior knowledge in June 2014. At that time the company altered the news feed algorithm to highlight either positive or negative posts from friends and monitored the responses.
The tests of crashing the Android app were also reportedly part of a larger effort on Facebook’s part to prepare for the possibility of being forced out of the Google Play Store in the future. Facebook is the biggest developer on Android however there have been times in the past where Google has threatened to remove the app for violation of the ToS.
As a result, Facebook has been testing the waters to see how independent it can make itself. They don’t want to rely on Google for success on their app and in some countries Facebook has removed the app from the Play store and provided an alternative link for users to download the app from.
Should the two ever have a falling out in the future it is clear that Facebook wants to have measures in place that ensure the mobile service does not crash and burn and is readily available by alternative means.