Snowball applications have shown huge viral growth over the past few weeks and there have been increasing discussions on the Developers Forum about some rather, shall we say, “loose” interpretations of the Facebook Platform Policy helping these applications to make significant gains. The latest in question for compliance is “Snowball Fight” which has been promising more snowballs for users who rate the application at five stars. The application itself makes the following claim:
Remember, if you rate this application 5 stars you will increase the number of snowballs you can throw each day
It may be that an application with a higher review rating is given a higher allocation for sending invites and notifications to users, although there is no evidence to suggest this. More likely is a higher placement within Facebook’s application directory as compared to other applications. Regardless, if application developers have no real idea of whether giving a five star review will give real benefit or not, how are the majority of users to judge the legitimacy of the claim?
The application’s prompt to review the application highly certainly seems to have done no harm to its popularity, currently showing at 3,036,234 monthly users. (Yes, that is over three million.) And, unsurprisingly, it has an average rating of five stars with over five thousand reviews.
However, the application was disabled yesterday for “for misuse of notifications and other communication channels,” Facebook says. From the developers’ forum:
Thanks for the report. This is a violation of rule 3.1 of the Platform Policy Wiki:
In order to maintain a fair and positive ecosystem, the following rules apply to application developers.
1. Application developers cannot trade positive reviews or collude with others to post, incentivize, or otherwise “game” the posting of negative or positive reviews. Applications should stand on their own merits based on user feedback, not insider quid pro quos.
We’ll follow up.
Platform Developer Operations & Support