By Prarthito Maity | Mar 16, 2013 11:07 AM EDT
Facebook is entering into a whole new controversy with a brand new update that the company is pushing out at the moment, and the weird part is it's completely bypassing the usual Google Play procedure to update an app.
As of now, Facebook for Android is prompting users to download a brand new update to a new build of its app, build 141046, without going through Google's official Play app store, according to reports.
This is quite an unusual way of pushing out an update and, as expected, the new procedure has alarmed some users and led others to ponder whether Facebook has somehow managed to violate Android's development rules.
Basically, only devices that permit applications to be "sideloaded" (installed from sources other than Google Play) are eligible to receive the new update. The Verge quoted one of its sources on this matter and stated that only a small subset of people are receiving the prompt to download build 141046.
"Our source essentially equates the experiment to a beta test; it allows Facebook to trial new features with a small pool of users before rolling them out to the Android community at large," The Verge writes.
Moreover, the update notification should only be displayed while the user is connected to Wi-Fi as "Facebook isn't trying to waste your mobile data," and the user will need to specifically grant permission for the installation to proceed.
Earlier, a thread in Facebook's help forum popped up that included a reply from a Facebook product manager named Ragavan Srinivasan who stated: "Hi all. I work at Facebook on the Android app and wanted to mention that this is legitimate. We're working quickly to improve Facebook for Android and want to make sure everyone is using the best version of our app. You'll experience these updates when you are on Wi-Fi, and they won't rely on your data plan."
As far as iOS users are concerned, they shouldn't expect any update like this due to the fact that Apple requires developers to submit any changes made directly to Apple, which then undergoes a review process. Basically, there's a strict policy in action that stops developers from pushing updates automatically to any iOS-based device.
"We're still unclear on where Google stands in regards to Facebook's newfound strategy, and have once again reached out to the company for comment," The Verge adds.
For anyone who might be uncomfortable with this new update being sent out in an unconventional way, note that we received this update from Facebook a couple of days ago on a Galaxy Note while connected to Wi-Fi. However, we weren't sure about it and refused the update. From that time onwards, the update hasn't popped up anymore, although there are reports that this update is actually nagging users until it's finally done.
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