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Facebook Android Social Networks

Hacker Modifies Facebook Home To Work On All Android Devices 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-that-social-norms dept.
An anonymous reader writes "That was quick. Mere hours after Facebook Home arrived on Google Play, the launcher has been modified to remove the device-specific limitation. This means you can use the latest Facebook service on any Android device. The brilliant hackers at XDA Developers have done it again. This particular hack was performed by XDA Senior Member theos0o; who provides details and download links."
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Hacker Modifies Facebook Home To Work On All Android Devices

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  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by UltraZelda64 (2309504) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @11:50PM (#43444441)

    Thanks hackers, now Facebook will be able to more effectively track all Android users equally! It's so thoughtful for you to effectively to their crummy job for them...

    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:08AM (#43444479)

      FaceBook is still voluntary, as far as I can tell.

      • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:19AM (#43444509)
        So is an Address, but yet I must have one.
        Now I get a bunch of shit in the mail, people knocking on my door, and cars driving by with loud bass.
        Clearly, life is voluntary.
      • Until you've got a friend who moves way out of town, loses or gets a new phone/number, and can't be found on traditional instant messaging services (Yahoo, Google Talk, etc.)... then it starts becoming somewhat of a necessity.

        This has happened to me, although after all these years I have still not caved into the pressure. But it is getting increasingly difficult to get in contact with people using traditional and in general non-Fecesbook methods.

        • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:27AM (#43444535)

          Perhaps a "friend" that moved out of town, and didn't provide you with their new contact details, doesn't want to be found by you ;)
          Thanks Facebook!

          • Nah--he has been having some real troubles in life and it seems more likely that he is struggling to get things straightened out again, and thinks that "starting fresh" and avoiding all of his past in the only way he can solve them.

            I'm sure that his own dad has a better idea and knows more about what is going on with the situation than some random anonymous coward on Slashdot who I don't even care to know. But nice try.

            • by kenbo11 (1097593)
              Doesn't "starting fresh" = "doesn't want to be found by you" ? So anonymous was correct!
            • by Cwix (1671282)

              You'd think his own dad would get a phone number or an address. Just saying is all...

              I live over a thousand miles from my dad, and talk to him weekly. Either he picks up the phone and calls me, or I pick up my phone and call him. No facebook is needed.

              • All I'll say is: You don't know him. He's not on the greatest terms with his dad either, but if anyone knows what's going on it should be him. But his dad seems almost as confused. Not everyone has perfect relationships with their parents.

            • yeah, he's been having some real troubles in life (owes money to loan sharks) and it seems more likely that he is struggling to get things straightened out again (hold down a job and hide from the loan sharks), and thinks that "starting fresh" and avoiding all of his past in the only way he can solve them (which I, being his loan shark, disagree with) I'm sure that his own dad has a better idea and knows more about what is going on with the situation (and that's why I broke his legs) than some random anony
        • by afidel (530433)

          You don't have your "friends" email address? Because I've had my main email account for 9 years, my account that's now my spam catcher for 13, and can still get email forwarded from my dads account that he's had for 19 years. All of those dwarf having to find someones facebook account in convenience.

          • I do not know if he uses either of them any more, but I do know his Yahoo! and Gmail addresses. At some point I will probably give one (or both) of those a try, if I don't hear anything from my other friend who does use Facebook... but I really doubt that he checks his e-mail. I have kept my e-mail address for years, and I know many other people do, but I also know that many others go through e-mail addresses like underwear (just like phone numbers... but maybe not quite as bad). If his complete lack of

            • by kenbo11 (1097593)
              If he wants to start fresh and leave his past behind. Shouldn't you, as a friend, respect that and leave him alone?
              • Shouldn't I, as a friend, try to find out exactly what's going on--straight from him--instead of just assuming my own predictions to be correct?

        • Until you've got a friend who moves way out of town, loses or gets a new phone/number

          And they wouldn't keep the same cell number because...?

          I'm assuming if they have a new cell number these days it means they are in witness protection, and I'm better off not knowing it anyways.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)
        1. Get noscript.

        2. Go to various sites.

        3. See what you are blocking.

        Facebook is tracking you. Facebook is tracking you even if you don't have a Facebook account.

        There are a fair number of sites that simply won't load if you are blocking FB.

        Voluntary my fuzzy butt.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          1. Get noscript.

          2. Go to various sites.

          3. See what you are blocking.

          Facebook is tracking you. Facebook is tracking you even if you don't have a Facebook account.

          There are a fair number of sites that simply won't load if you are blocking FB.

          Voluntary my fuzzy butt.

          Same with Google. Google Analytics is used by far more sites - and I see it far more often then fbcdn.com And if it wasn't for NoScript which has a Google Analytics workaround, you have to add it otherwise sites really don't work.

          I've not seen any

    • by ElmoGonzo (627753)
      My guess is that this new skin/face will become a new Facebook upgrade that will either install itself and take over your phone or nag you to upgrade until you bend over and acquiesce. I decided I didn't need Facebook on my Android so I uninstalled it. Happily I have the option to do so -- my previous device had it in crapware where my only choice was to uninstall upgrades.
      • by vlueboy (1799360)

        We are never given a chance to judge the app's invasive permission schemes when it's already on a brand new phone. I would not download it on the Market if given the choice.

        Happily I have the option to do so -- my previous device had it in crapware where my only choice was to uninstall upgrades.

        Same here with cheap Android 2.2 device. If your device is rootable, you could had a choice of killing FB. Once rooted, you can use a root terminal to find the standard bin folder and move out or delete the facebook APK file. It disappears from the App list.

        I wish I had done that much earlier: A friend quickly signed in to check their fa

    • 1) develop software for one platform only
      2) loudly trumpet that to maintain IP rights and control the product will never be developed for other platforms
      3) sit back and let hackers port it for you
      4) ...?
      5) Profit!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you are using Google's Android, you obviously don't care about privacy anyway.

      • Seriously folks, what is this infatuation with "apps" when a URL will do? If I want weather, I can tap the link to the local conditions and forecast. If I want streaming music, I can tap the link to my music service subscription. Unlike "apps", web browsers do not rumage around your filesystem and send all sorts of info back to the mothership. Cookies and browsing history at worst, but not phone contacts, etc.

    • Exactly my thinking. After reading the device permission requirements demanded by the most recent update for the Android app version of FB, I uninstalled it entirely. There's no good reason I can think of for Facebook to have visibility and control of the apps running on my device.
  • As E.T. would say (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toygeek (473120) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @11:53PM (#43444443) Homepage Journal

    Face-book-phooone-Hooome

  • by lxs (131946) on Saturday April 13, 2013 @11:57PM (#43444455)

    It must be the biggest, blackest hat in the history of the world.

    • Has the guy actually made any modifications to it?

      When I need to install a non-supported app on my Google TV, I just download the app on my rooted phone and email it to myself.

      That's it, most tablet apps run fine on my Google TV even if their manifest says it does not support it (and my Google TV itself is not rooted, it doesn't have to be since it's just receiving the apk). Now the usability of those non-GoogleTV apps may not be that great, but that's another story. My point is that nothing on the TV itse

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:11AM (#43444487)

    Wake me when he manages to remove every trace of phone-home crap in there, then it's maybe news worth mentioning.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Then how would it work?

      • when he manages to remove every trace of phone-home crap in there, then it's maybe news worth mentioning

        Then how would it work?

        As a "leech-only client to Facebook" for the few who do actually care about their own privacy, but are nosy enough to want to read up on everybody else's every move (from the phones of all those to whom it couldn't matter less as they use an unpatched very verbose version).

        • by lxs (131946)

          If someone's not willing to share their own life but still want to peek into the lives of others then they're a bit of a peeping Tom in my book. I guess that's what two decades of reality TV has turned people into.

          • Heh. I dare you to write your Congressman that.

            • by lxs (131946)

              I don't have a Congressman. I do have a queen though does that count?

              • Hey, what you do in your spare time is your biz, I'm liberal when it comes to that :)

                But maybe write your MP and ask him or her what he/she thinks of a CCTV pointing at her house that's not under his/her control.

          • by Cwix (1671282)

            So if the peeping tom is willing to share (getting naked) he should be allowed to see others getting naked. Because personally I would still classify that as a peeping tom. If we reapply this upgraded standard to facebook terms, everyone is a peeping tom on facebook.

            lxs why are you a peeping tom?

            In case you hear a woosh noise I'll break it down: Analogy fail.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          The classic bit-torrent problem.

          These systems only work when you share as much as you receive. Kind of like people who are dead set against Google knowing minor anonymous details about their life yet at the same time are happy for live traffic feedback in navigation apps.

          If you're the type of person who is interested in leech only, then this is most definitely not even remotely the product for you.

          • by TCM (130219)

            These systems only work when you share as much as you receive. Kind of like people who are dead set against Google knowing minor anonymous details about their life yet at the same time are happy for live traffic feedback in navigation apps.

            What. The. Fuck.

            So for live traffic feedback I should have to provide back my live GPS location or even totally unrelated information? What a completely retarded argument. You just pulled a totally unrelated analogy out of your ass.

            • How do you think the service knows where traffic is backed up at? If nobody shared their GPS data there wouldn't be any traffic feedback. I'll admit comparing it to Facebook status updates is a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn't call the idea of a service pooling GPS data so users can see where traffic jams are "a completely retarded argument."

              • In my area, there is already a sensor network built into the roads. No need for GPS sharing.

                • by thegarbz (1787294)

                  Congrats, I'm sure your sensor network covers every every street in every city with real time live data for free to *every* smartphone where people are able to run google maps.

                  No, sorry but your little sensor network just doesn't compare to the godsend which is google's traffic update system.

                  • Actually, it does all of that * for my area*. I kind of doubt you'd get as accurate data from smart phones. Not every one has one with gps turned on, so your really measuring traffic of people who have smart phones. The highway could be congested, but still show its wide open. I'm really suprised that anyone would rely solely on smartphone gps data.

                    • by thegarbz (1787294)

                      Yet in one fell swoop a single company has managed to cover every major road in every city. The system works incredibly well. Slow update rates mean you don't need everyone to have a smartphone, but if even a tiny portion of the population use the feature you get very accurate data.

                      Evidence http://maps.google.com/ [google.com] why not compare it to your sensor network.

              • by TCM (130219)

                We had traffic jam reporting via radio before anyone knew what a smartphone was and before you had always-on Internet whereever you went.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_Message_Channel [wikipedia.org]

                Do you really want to waste traffic with every individual car uploading its position in realtime? That's even more braindead.

                • by thegarbz (1787294)

                  Yes we have that too. During peak hour some stations report it every 15min. GPS will not magically route around it and will instead direct you straight through the middle of the mess. If you're really lucky it's actually up to date information, and if you're really really lucky the traffic information is more than just info on a couple of major roads.

                  As I've replied to someone else it doesn't even remotely compare to the convenience, quantity, and quality of data Google maps provide. As for wasting traffic,

          • The classic bit-torrent problem.

            These systems only work when you share as much as you receive. Kind of like people who are dead set against Google knowing minor anonymous details about their life yet at the same time are happy for live traffic feedback in navigation apps.

            If you're the type of person who is interested in leech only, then this is most definitely not even remotely the product for you.

            TCM gave the slightly more succinct version, but I concur with him (or her) in your argument's lack of merit.

            I'm perfectly fine with Google knowing my position and speed for the very reasons you specify - when and only when I'm using it to navigate. Throw a copy of LBE Security Master on your phone and set Google Maps to 'prompt' mode every time it wants your location. It's amazing how often it wants to know where I am, even when I'm not actively navigating.

            I have a hosted Exchange account that I link to my

    • by siddesu (698447)
      This is in the other XDA thread, the one about OpenPDroid (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2098156). You may also look into the autopatcher (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1719408) for an easier install.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:33AM (#43444559) Journal
    Usually I am happy to admire the skill and ability of hackers in doing something interesting, and never ask "Why?" or what practical purpose it might help with. I am satisfied to admire the hack for the hack's sake.

    But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home? This hack is like saying, "oh, the Sony Rootkit only ran on Windows, let's port it to OSX so macboys can enjoy it too." Why would you do that? There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because some of us have wife/girlfriends. We don't want facebook home, but as techie husbands do we hook up our wife's phone.

      • And when she wants to inject heroin, you hold her hair, right?

        • by Cwix (1671282)

          I hate facebook, but comparing it to heroin is a bit much don't you think?

          • by rjr162 (69736)

            Honest to god, no.

            I have a neighbor whos older (late 60s) and she is an absolute wreck when she cant get on facebook. Her daughter and the daughters husband live next door and I always know when shes having issues with her PC because they tell me "please fix her pc! Shes driving us crazy with the coming over to use our pc to get on facebook deal"

            She'll even tell you how crazy she goes waiting to get on facebook. She paces around, cant sit still etc just like she might as well be a junkie waiting for her nex

            • by Cwix (1671282)

              I do have to admit that I do not have that much experience with facebook addicts. I was under the impression that as people got older they tended to drift away from such inane places. I could be wrong though.

        • by pregister (443318)

          Where, exactly, are you injecting your heroin?

    • Why would you do that? There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.

      And there's much more interesting things you can do with a vacuum. Hm.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually the Sony Rootkit had great uses to hide things from hard drive scanning tech. Like Warden.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are much more interesting things to do with your time. Like vacuuming your floor or something.

      Maybe it's a prelude to something much more interesting? I don't know the xda guys at all but getting this to run on any device massively increases the pool of people who can run it or, possibly, massively increases the pool of people who can use ther own devices to check for vulnerabilities, add stuff, remove stuff, etc. Baby steps and all that.

    • why?

      That was my first thought reading the headline.

    • by cffrost (885375)

      This hack is like saying, "oh, the Sony Rootkit only ran on Windows, let's port it to OSX so macboys can enjoy it too." Why would you do that?

      Your analogy has inspired my hypothesis that this is was an act of comedic performance art.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @02:56AM (#43444897)

      But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home?

      Me? I don't. My sister? Her friends? Hell some of my friends? Yes.

      While you and I may disagree with Facebook, how it works and what it stands for there are people out there who use it for everything. I mean EVERYTHING. You're not on their Facebook list? They won't call you to invite you to a party. SMS? How quaint, just use Facebook messaging from any device and talk to multiple people at a time.

      There are literally people I can only talk to via Facebook because that is their mindset. They will line up to try Facebook Home.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      you really think that _nobody_ would want it?
      if you're going to use this you're likely already running the fb app for android and already using fb quite a lot.

      that it's hacked isn't that big of a deal though, since fb would have had to do some extraordinary hacks to make it hard to hack..

    • by c (8461)

      But here, why? Do you really want Facebook Home?

      Actually, I wasked "why" myself. It's in Facebook's best interest to make Home run on every stinking device out there, including Blackberries via whatever Android-to-BB magic they're using, so it's just a matter of time before they release a works-on-every-device version. So why in the world would anyone bother hacking it to allow what's inevitable?

  • If the program was such a quick "fix", it would indicate that the device-specific limitations were either intentionally added by the higher-ups, or Facebook Home was written by a complete idiot (considering how buggy it is reported to be, this might be the more likely possibility)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A mixture I think. I've seen apps written by large companies do that before.. They don't code to an API they have a meeting and say 'we'll write it for devices x y and z' then hard code checks to make it run only on those devices.

      My favourite example of the genre is the Sky+ app that's locked not only to devices but specific minor OS versions... Phone updated from 4.1.1 to 4.1.2? Too bad.. They'll get around to an update in a month or two...

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:47AM (#43444591)

    What self respecting hacker would donate their precious time to helping out a Mark Zuckerberg and his company. Facebook does not need this help. Facebook are the only real winners of this little feat. There are better alternatives for people who dont want to support a shady company like Facebook

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      What self respecting hacker would donate their precious time to helping out a Mark Zuckerberg and his company. Facebook does not need this help. Facebook are the only real winners of this little feat. There are better alternatives for people who dont want to support a shady company like Facebook

      Not necessarily. Maybe some guy just noticed it wasn't supported on his phone, got curious and said, "Well why not?" So he picked apart the app, found out where/how it enabled certain phones, rebuilt that part to verify that was truly how it worked, and then published his findings on XDA-developers, adding the obligatory, "this may brick your phone" that goes on every hack on XDA-developers. As it should. You install not-thoroughly-tested mods on your phone at considerable risk.

  • Still Using Forums (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @12:51AM (#43444603)

    I see that the XDA community is STILL doing EVERYTHING in a god-damn forum. Nope. No code repositories here! Just download this link from this thread on this forum and have fun!

    • Said the AC posting on a forum... RSS exists.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 14, 2013 @02:39AM (#43444843)

      That's because much of what gets accomplished by the developers at XDA falls into the uneasy demilitarized zone where the manufacturers pretend it doesn't exist and look the other way, but technically much of what would be hosted would have at least bits and pieces that could be considered infringement of their respective trademarks, copyrights, and/or patents (example: tweaked & modded Samsung and HTC firmware).

      Due to the way trademark law works (vigorously fight all infringement, or risk losing it altogether), if XDA openly hosted files a-la-Github, they might as well paint a target on their metaphorical forehead. Likewise, as long as the files get hosted by services that are slightly shady, the manufacturers can rationalize it as an act of anonymous piracy that's largely beyond their control. If it were hosted at XDA itself, their lawyers would be firing off DMCA takedown notices (or worse) within minutes of posting.

      Manufacturers are more willing to look the other way when obtaining and flashing modified firmware involves jumping through a half-dozen annoying hoops. The more convenient it becomes, and the more likely less-technical end users are to use it, the more they (or at least their lawyers) feel compelled to fight for the sake of liability- and tech-support avoidance.

      It would be nice, of course, if we could just go out and buy best-of-breed Android hardware with open drivers and unlocked bootloaders, but the sad fact is that Google's Nexi haven't been bleeding-edge best-of-breed devices since the Nexus One (the GNex could have been, had they not squandered 6 months of exclusivity on Verizon, but by the time the GSM GNex came out, the S3 was just a month or two away), so if you want best of breed hardware with hackable firmware now, there isn't really an alternative to buying the latest phone from Samsung or HTC & using hacked and tweaked variants of the official firmware for 3-9 months until Cyanogen, AOSP, and AOKP catch up & have fully-working versions (as opposed to versions with broken Camera, GPS, 4G, or other subsystems that seem to inevitably break with every new version of Android).

    • by caseih (160668)

      Even something that ought to be as simple such as installing CyanogenMod on my i9000m phone is buried in pages and pages of forum posts, some dating back a long time. It's virtually impossible to track down the latest information. Sometimes people update the beginning post with the latest information and links, many times not. And installing from random file sharing sources? What a great way to get malware on my phone.

      As the other poster put it, they do seem to want to keep this phone hacking stuff a fa

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday April 14, 2013 @01:01AM (#43444637)

    Great technical feat though that would be, it does not make it a good idea.

  • I think there's a more interesting issue here... Why did Facebook, probably the world's largest harvester of user information after Google, launch their new app for only few selected devices? Perhaps (conspiracy theory ahead) they wanted to create a hype by releasing the app for only those few selected devices, but allow easy port for people with the proper knowledge?
    • by D4C5CE (578304)
      For the same reason that European rules would plant potatoes in a "guarded garden for the king" so neighbors would want them too: ;-)
      There's no better way than artificial scarcity to ensure accelerated adoption.

      Plus, replacing the Home screen and interacting with the system at a lower level than probably e.g. Apple on iOS would allow, given the wide variety of Android versions (and hacks) out there that might be incompatible in unforeseen ways, Zuck probably does not want his company to go down in histor
    • by kenbo11 (1097593)
      Maybe those few selected devices paid Facebook to keep it that way. "Buy our phone it has Facebook Home"
    • by tlambert (566799)

      I think there's a more interesting issue here...
      Why did Facebook, probably the world's largest harvester of user information after Google, launch their new app for only few selected devices?
      Perhaps (conspiracy theory ahead) they wanted to create a hype by releasing the app for only those few selected devices, but allow easy port for people with the proper knowledge?

      It is much more highly likely that they wanted to limit distribution to the devices they had tested on, since there are two gates on the specific version of Android that a given device runs, and they had not ensured compatibility with all versions:

      Gate #1: The tree from which the frozen cut of the Android sources was derived at the time that the version was frozen for productization by the device manufacturer. For some reason, people still want to erroneously believe that Android comes from Google as a fin

  • by virb67 (1771270)
    This "hacker" wouldn't actually be named Mark Zuckerberg, would he?
  • by hey (83763)

    Could just be a manifest change.

  • How long has Facebook Home been out? A month? A few? Already it's been hacked in a big way. A false flag hack? Possibly, and wouldn't put it past the organization to be sly like that. Regardless the deal with Android appears to be that it's not a very secure OS already, and it doesn't bode well for security that Facebook Home took almost no time at all to get hacked in the wild. I wouldn't install that shit on my phone if they payed me and gave me a phone.

    That leads to the question of why Android is so w
  • It seems like it would be more useful to hack it to be easier to turn on and off via the status bar.
  • I can not wait!
  • wouldn't it be better to hack it so it doesn't work on a single platform ?

  • ... would have found a way to disable Facebook and make it uninstallable on all android devices. This guy is an amateur or a Facebook employee.
  • by Trogre (513942)

    I can't speak either way for the merits fof this particular app, but I think the current way apps are delivered is stupid - if your device isn't on Google's list of "will work with this app" database you're screwed. The App Store has no "I know what I'm doing" checkbox to let you install apps that don't list your device as supported, and it sorely needs it.

    I had to find a hacked copy of Google Sky for example before I could get it to run on my cheap-as-chips tablet. And for no reason, apparently, as the a

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