Apple has begun rejecting applications that encourage or reward social sharing, developers have said.
According to TechCrunch, apps that promote sharing on Facebook excessively to receive hints or other incentives have not been accepted to the App Store.
In doing so, Apple is curtailing a practice that has been used by a number of high profile games, such as Candy Crush, to increase popularity.
Similarly, the company is also rejecting applications that promote other apps, with some being rejected on the grounds that they use promotional advertisements or offer free in-game credits for watching video ads.
In an email to an anonymous developer, Apple states “We work hard to ensure that the apps on the App Store are in compliance and we try to identify any apps currently on the App Store that may not be. It takes time to identify these occurrences but another app being out of compliance is not a reason for your app to be.”
With one developer having an update to his app rejected even though it was just a graphical re-skin, it seems like acceptance to the store is somewhat of a lottery, however, there are no indications yet that the latest changes will be applied to apps retroactively.
The most recent development, which follows the introduction of the new App Store in iOS 8, will have a major impact on the app discovery process. The store allows developers to promote their apps in “bundles” and users can search for apps by trending keywords. However, Apple’s new stance on social media sharing will mean a major revamp for how apps achieve popularity and growth.