Has Facebook Developed A Custom Version Of Android?

Senior Contributor
03.29.13

Recently, Zuckerberg murdered the dreams of tech bloggers everywhere when he flatly announced that Facebook isn’t building a phone. So when it sent out invites to a press event “showing off our new home on Android,” people immediately started wondering what was up.

It may be a new app, but that’s unlikely: Facebook tends to roll out changes to its app to iOS first, and it’s unlikely they’re making a drastic change that would differentiate the two.

The prevailing theory is that Facebook may not be building a phone, but it’s going to seriously Facebook up Android:

Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years.

So in other words, it won’t be any sort of hardware, but rather a type of custom software.

It makes sense, but it does also raise the question of who Facebook sees using this. They’ve already got Instagram, Messenger, and the Facebook app itself on Android. Who needs Facebook deeply integrated into the operating system of their phone.

More to the point, what will users be agreeing to, if they download and use this version of Android? Facebook’s record on privacy is… less than spectacular, and giving it access to literally everything you do on your smartphone may be asking for trouble. Depending on how far they push it, they could incur the wrath of Google.

We’ll know more next week, but for now, consider installing Fishbowl, instead. Hey, the government is spying on you already, you might as well make sure it’s only the government spying on you.

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