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Facebook (Meta), may let EU users download apps directly from ads

Meta will reportedly start testing the feature before the Digital Markets Act takes effect next year.

Meta, the company behind Facebook, is set to introduce a groundbreaking feature for users in the European Union (EU) that will revolutionize app downloads. This new type of Facebook ad will enable users to download apps without the need to visit their mobile platform's app store, as reported by The Verge. Let's delve into the details of this exciting development and how it will impact app distribution in the EU.

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The Direct Download Option for Android Users

The new Facebook ads will offer a direct download option for users, making the app installation process more seamless and convenient. Initially, this capability is expected to be available only on Android devices, as Meta is collaborating with Android developers for a pilot launch slated later this year.

As it stands, Android users already have the ability to install APKs and sideload apps through their browsers. However, these apps still utilize Google's billing system. What sets Meta's offering apart is its complete independence from both Apple's App Store and Google Play, providing users with a refreshing alternative.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and its Impact

The introduction of this feature in the EU became possible due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new law set to take effect in 2024. The DMA mandates that consumers should have the option to download apps from competing app stores, aiming to foster healthy competition and provide users with more choices.

The European Commission emphasizes that when dominant platforms engage in unfair practices, such as preventing the installation of applications from other sources, consumers can suffer from higher costs or a lack of access to the benefits that alternative services might offer. With the DMA in place, Meta's move to enable direct app downloads is aligned with the EU's goal of promoting fairness and empowering consumers.

Confirmation from Meta and Its Vision

Tom Channick, a spokesperson for Meta, confirmed the company's plan to introduce app downloads through Facebook ads to The Verge. He expressed Meta's longstanding interest in supporting developers and their app distribution efforts. The introduction of new options is expected to inject more competition into this space, benefitting both developers and end-users.

Developers will have greater flexibility with Meta's approach as the company reportedly won't take a cut from their earnings and will allow them to choose their preferred billing system. However, it is worth noting that this approach might evolve as the service progresses beyond the pilot testing phase.

Looking Ahead: A Potential Game-Changer

The prospect of direct app downloads through Facebook ads holds tremendous potential for transforming the app distribution landscape within the EU. By bypassing traditional app stores, users can access the apps they desire with greater ease, while developers can reach their target audience more effectively.

As Meta moves forward with its pilot launch and explores how this feature resonates with users and developers alike, the tech industry eagerly anticipates the impact it could have on the app ecosystem. By embracing the principles of the DMA and striving for fairness and competition, Meta is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of app distribution in the EU.

In conclusion, Meta's decision to offer direct app downloads through Facebook ads is a testament to its commitment to innovation and user satisfaction. With the implementation of the DMA on the horizon, this new approach to app distribution promises to empower users and foster a more vibrant and competitive app market within the EU. The journey has just begun, and all eyes are on Meta as it paves the way for a new era in app accessibility and developer opportunities.


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