Even more evidence that Facebook’s days as a Wild West, do-as-you-please frontier for app-makers are over: Even as the site is making it harder for the mini-programs to spread themselves across the site, it is now promoting specific apps to users.
Visit Facebook’s applications page, and you’ll see a tab marked “Apps You May Like.” There’s no explanation of how Facebook is selecting the apps, but it appears to be targeting users based on basic demographic info. It also seems to be fairly crude formula: Facebook knows that we live in San Jose, so it thinks we might like the San Jose Sharks Fan App. But it doesn’t know we’re not big puckheads.
But if this does take off — and particularly if Facebook starts promoting the boxes beyond its apps page, to places where users might see it consistently — this will become a powerful make-or-break tool for app makers. Time to start watching whether Facebook is pushing the most-established players — the RockYous and the Slides — or whether it’s trying to surface small fry that wouldn’t have much chance on their own. We wouldn’t bet on the latter.