Cyberian

Facebook quietly pauses all new app and bot reviews

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that continues to haunt Facebook, people’s News Feeds remain largely unchanged. But for developers, Facebook is a whole new world — and an empty one at that.

Facebook quietly announced Monday it is pausing its app review process, which means developers are no longer able to launch new apps or chatbots on the Facebook ecosystem. That abrupt halt, even if temporary, is a thudding blow to any app developer who had hoped to debut a new experience on Facebook this week. 
“Imagine hundreds of hours of work, tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment capital, and dozens of clients disappearing at any given moment at the whim of a few lines of code,” Troy Osinoff, cofounder of digital agency JUICE, wrote in a recent Facebook post in response to the pause. 
For Osinoff, Facebook’s decision is a helpful reminder to not be reliant on a single platform. That’s something publishers are quite familiar with given Facebook’s constant tweaking of the algorithm. 
“You NEED to have a backup plan. A detailed IFTT (if this then that) for what happens if/when Facebook pulls the rug from under your primary business model,” Osinoff wrote. 
Facebook executives Campbell Brown and Adam Mosseri also stressed the idea that publishers, at least, should not be too tied to Facebook while speaking at Recode’s Code Media conference. 
“If anyone feels that this isn’t the right platform for them, then they should not be on Facebook,” Brown told Recode. 
Facebook’s pause will “last for a few weeks,” according to Chatbots Magazine, as entrepreneur Chris Messina shared from a Facebook Messenger conversation. 

A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable that the company does not have a date to share on when the new apps and chatbots can be submitted again. 
These changes stem from Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook user data, but what’s interesting is that chatbots do not actually have access to that much information, Syd Lawrence, founder of The Bot Platform, told Music Ally. 
“All we get is the name, gender and timezone of the person signing up to the bot. We don’t even get location or page likes, let alone anything on your friends. But because it’s all bubbled down from the app-review process being paused, it’s had the effect of a blanket pause across everything,” Lawrence told Music Ally. 
Facebook is also conducting an audit of all apps that had “access to large amounts of information” before the company instituted data restrictions in 2014. Facebook also is looking into any app that they deem to be “suspicious,” according to its blog post. 
While the future of old Facebook apps is up in the air and new apps are unable to join the network, Facebook seems to hoping that developers say patient. 
“On behalf of everyone on the Messenger team, we want to thank you all in advance for your patience, and for all the work you’ve done to make this the awesome global community it is,” reads the Messenger Team’s blog post. 

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