The new Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 look like great phones. I’m not a huge fan of foldable phones, but even I think the Z Flip 4 might be the “most interesting” phone we’ve ever seen, and totally understand its appeal. But one thing in particular bothers me: Samsung’s new partnership with Meta.
You might not know this is a thing, but at the end of the Unpacked event, I noticed a slideshow on the big screen showing official Samsung partners. We see a lot when every phone company releases a new product, so it’s no surprise. What surprised me was seeing Meta there.
We reached out to Samsung and Meta and confirmed that with the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4, there is indeed a special/new partnership between the two. On the consumer side, it’s a way to use Flexcam mode — in Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, you can fold your phone up and use it as a stand to use the camera.
However, the consumer side is not the reason for my concern. It’s cool to be able to do this with Meta’s app from day one, but it also means Meta Can Access to more data than usual as it is one of the partners with which Samsung can share data.
“Can” is the current keyword. There’s no way to know what kind of data was shared with Meta, or if it was more than the company already collected from everyone using Instagram or WhatsApp. But it’s worrying to know that it could be possible — Samsung will be selling a bunch of foldables between 2022 and 2023, and the last thing Meta needs is more data on each product.
Partnerships and data sharing are concerns for all parties. All companies want our data because they can make money in some way, but some have a proven track record of using data. Samsung is one of them.
When you first set up your Samsung phone, you’ll be asked to agree to several different Samsung policies that you almost certainly won’t bother to read. In a nutshell, what they’re saying is that Samsung collects some of your data, and other things are hands-off (like health data or religion or sexual orientation), but it promises to handle it properly. It can use this data to improve its phones, apps, and services, and it can share some of your data with partners it trusts.
I’m sure Samsung will keep its place in the bargain in the way I trust Apple, Microsoft, and even Google. These companies collect data and use it only in ways with our consent.
This is not the case with Meta, whose breach of credibility is both legendary and numerous. Remember, this company allows others to interfere in US elections in exchange for money. I don’t care which side of the political aisle you are on, you have to agree that Facebook has no business involvement. It does this using what we call private user data.
Now Samsung, a company we can trust (as long as you can trust any In any case, the tech company) gives the impression that it trusts Meta.Maybe it doesn’t, the company knows Meta could misuse our data, but has it as a partner hint That kind of trust.
Pre-installing Instagram and various other Meta apps in the operating system can give them a higher level of permissions. Even if you uninstall them, those important parts that are embedded in the OS stay behind.
I know, to a lot of people, I sound like a grumpy old man who should be wearing a tinfoil hat, and you have nothing to hide. I also know this is one of those times when I’m right that the collection and misuse of our private data is a terrible problem. You don’t have to care, but allow others to care on your behalf.
I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t buy the Flip 4 or the Fold 4, as both are probably one of the best Android phones you can buy right now. I just remind everyone that Meta cannot be trusted because it shows us over and over again that it should not be trusted with our personal data.
Maybe the company is trying to right itself and we won’t see one scandal after another when it comes to privacy. If so, we can also change our level of trust. Hopefully the concerns here are unfounded, as Samsung will make sure Meta doesn’t misuse our data.
Until then, please know what you are doing.