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Google tells developers that Play Store apps can only update via the Play Store, Facebook doesn't respond

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google tells developers that Play Store apps can only update via the Play Store, Facebook doesn't respond
A bit over a month ago, Facebook started pulling an end-around to the Google Play Store and pushing updates to users directly instead of through the store itself. Yesterday, Google added a new policy to its Play Store guidelines telling developers that Play Store apps can only update via the Play Store itself.

The change comes as part of the "Dangerous Products" section of the Google Play Developer Content Policy, and reads: 
An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism.
The core of the "Dangerous Products section has always been that Google doesn't allow "applications that cause users to unknowingly download or install applications from sources outside of Google Play." The idea being that any app or update that Google can't check through the Play Store could end up doing some unacceptable things. 

Facebook has said previously that it is only pushing the updates to users who already have the sideloading settings allowed. Also, there were never any updates pushed without the user's knowledge, and users were always given the same options to see the new permissions when sideloading. Still, it's unclear what the company will do now. The policy is pretty clear though, so it doesn't look like Facebook has any choice. 

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posted on 26 Apr 2013, 10:29 18

1. scriptwriter (Posts: 396; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)

Good. What gives Facebook the right to put stuff on my phone with out my knowledge or conscent? i have automatic updates un ticked anyway, so i can see the changes to apps BEFORE i download them

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:14 8

4. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Edited the article for clarity on this. Facebook never pushed updates without your knowledge. It never bypassed your settings. And, you were still able to see the permission changes even when sideloading the updates.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:49 2

9. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

On both my phone and tablet, I never recieved any notification that Facebook was going to update, nor did I see anything about permission changes. All I had was a downloading sign in my task bar that lasted about 8 hours. I'm glad Google put this into effect.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 14:39

13. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

Just glad i uninstalled fafebook app on my phone. Thats all u have too do. Besides fb never updates their slow a$$ app when loading trying too sign in. I too dont want them looking on my ohone without my permission thats why i got rid of it

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 10:49 8

2. mohann (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Apr 2013)

please google remove the facebook app from play store, it is the worst app in the market..

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 10:53 6

3. boosook (Posts: 1442; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

Google is right, I don't want any developer (not only FB) to be able to bypass my settings, what's more I want to know if an update requires additional permissions so I can choose whether to update or not.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:15 5

5. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2720; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Edited for clarity. No app was bypassing your settings. Facebook still alerted you to updates, made it your choice, and showed the new permissions when sideloading the update.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:20 3

6. dorianb (Posts: 612; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Ha... Google just pulled an end around & told Facebook, "Lord, help me guide my hand so it may be true & fair. As I lay may pimp hand down on this ignorant ***********." -The pimps prayer.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:26 2

7. joey_sfb (Posts: 6613; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Personally I make it a point not to update app that by pass play store update mechanism to avoid malware. Still should leave it to user to make that choice. Unless the app get updated without consent then I have a problem with it.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:41 1

8. roscuthiii (Posts: 2241; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

I guess Facebook could always just provide Facebook Home from their own site forgoing having the app in the Play Store at all.
Android being Android, if the user already had sideloading turned on, then they could probably get the app itself the same way.
And Facebook being Facebook it's not like they are lacking any exposure to get people downloading the app from them. I'm surprised they didn't take that route from the start.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 11:52 1

10. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

Bunch of busters at Facebook.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 13:30 2

11. BadAssAbe (Posts: 465; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)

Sounds like a good idea, just think about an bad app that suddenly wants to update itself and add malware

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 13:52

12. akki20892 (Posts: 3902; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


posted on 26 Apr 2013, 14:51

14. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

Facebook is getting a bit too big for it's britches, although it does have some interesting things with Facebook home, no way in hell I want my phone linked to facebook and to be notified about what friends are posting since some friends post to damn much I can see that crap becoming annoying. I hope that someone jumps on the whole add your own skin to android OS to add functionality that is geared to you personally. That would be a truly customized experience and you would know where everything was, imagine your own gestures to do specific tasks. The possibilities are there.

posted on 26 Apr 2013, 16:53

15. Hemlocke (unregistered)

"Walled gardens are stupid and evil."

-Every blind fandroid on the internet

posted on 27 Apr 2013, 05:08

16. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Other than posting something you know would get disagreed with, what was your point?

posted on 27 Apr 2013, 10:18

17. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

If it was an average joe blow app, they would have no choice but to comply. In the case of Facebook though, Google has no choice but to let it slide. If Android lost support from Facebook, that would give iOS and WP some gains they could easily prevent

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