Facebook reopens review process for Instant Games & Messenger apps

After hitting the pause button on app reviews following the Cambridge Analytica firestorm, Facebook has announced that it is reopening the review process for Instant Games and Messenger apps.

Reviews for Instant Games apps will open immediately, reports Facebook, although the company notes it may take several weeks for it to get through the apps currently in the review queue. Newly submitted apps will not be reviewed until the apps in the queue have been reviewed.

For Messenger Apps, only those with a limited number of Page connections will be reviewed: “This week, we are reopening review for developers that support a limited number of Pages, allowing them to set up direct Messenger integrations across their own Pages.”

Facebook says it is prioritizing Messenger app reviews for existing apps already in its review process queue before reviewing new requests. In addition to reopening the review process for Messenger apps, Facebook will also re-enable existing apps using Page conversation APIs to connect to a limited number of Pages.

Facebook paused its app review process on March 26, after announcing it was suspending Cambridge Analytica, which had used an app to harvest and exploit user data. Halting app reviews was Facebook’s way of showing it was performing due diligence around the very thing that caused its latest crisis. Not only did Facebook stop app reviews, the company also modified its app review process, and limited the amount of user information — including friend lists — that app developers had access to.

Since the Cambridge Analytica news broke, Facebook has made a number of announcements concerning all the ways it is aiming to protect user information. But the changes Facebook is making to its privacy policies do not appear to be helping it win back trust among users. This week, NPR/PBS News Hour and Marist Poll surveyed more than 1,000 US adults and found 80 percent said they had no confidence at all, or very little, that Facebook safeguards their personal information. Ninety-two percent of Facebook users polled said they didn’t have much, or any, confidence that what they see on the site is true.

Now that Facebook has reopened the review process for Instant Games and the Messenger apps that connect to Pages, the question for marketers is whether or not it’s worth putting money toward a Facebook app if the public has lost all trust in the platform.

While game apps, and especially, Messenger apps that let brands engage directly with users, may offer a certain appeal to brands looking to extend their reach on the site, what good are they if people are currently removing apps in bulk from their Facebook profiles?

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