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Facebook Deliberately Drains Users’ Phone Batteries, Former Employee Says in Lawsuit: Report

Over the past year, major technology firms have laid off more than 70,000 people around the world. Workers at large technology companies such as Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Twitter, Microsoft and Salesforce have been laid off in large numbers. Tesla, Netflix, Snap and Spotify have also cut a few jobs, but their layoffs are noticeably smaller than at larger companies. A former Meta employee has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the firm, alleging that Facebook is deliberately draining users’ phone batteries under the guise of testing features. The former worker also claimed he was fired when he called the practice harmful and refused to participate in it.

According to the New York Post reportGeorge Hayward is a 33-year-old data scientist who claims to have worked at Facebook on its popular Messenger chat app. In a lawsuit filed against the firm, Hayward said he stumbled across an internal training document called “How to Do Thoughtful Negative Tests,” which provides examples of experiments in which users’ batteries were surreptitiously but completely deliberately drained under the guise of testing certain features. app, according to the report. This practice, Hayward notes, is called “negative testing.”

“I have never seen a more appalling document in my career,” Hayward said, according to the report. “I told the manager, ‘This might hurt someone,’ and she said that by hurting a few, we can help the majority… I refused to do this test. It turns out that if you tell your boss, “No, it’s illegal,” it won’t go very well,” he added. However, the report does not provide further details of the document mentioned by Hayward.

The former employee reportedly claims he does not know the exact number of people affected by the practice, but believes Facebook was involved in the activity due to the existence of an internal learning module. According to the report, the lawsuit he filed against the Meta in Manhattan Federal Court sought unspecified damages and has since been dropped as Hayward had to go to arbitration, according to his lawyer, who also said Hayward continues to defend his claims.

Draining someone’s cell phone battery reportedly puts people at risk, especially “in circumstances where they need to communicate with other people, including but not limited to police or other lifeguards,” according to the lawsuit filed against Meta.

The report says Hayward was hired in October 2019 and fired last November, which he claims was the result of his refusal to participate in “negative testing.” It’s worth noting that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, laid off more than 11,000 employees, or 13 percent of its workforce, in the same month, one of the biggest layoffs in the tech sector in recent years.

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