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Facebook App Center to use random sampling to combat ratings cheats

Five star scoring system will be generated from spread of results

Facebook's new App Center is combatting the threat of companies trying to cheat ratings systems by generating an App's score from a random selection of ratings left by users.

Instead of allowing all users to submit a rating for the applications they use, Facebook will instead prompt players for their opinions at random, ensuring that unscrupulous developers and pubishers are unable to skew scores with block votes or bots, something which has become a recognised problem for other services such as the iOS App Store.

To further obfuscate the process, players will not be able to rate an app which they currently have open, only one which they have used previously, reports Inside Social Games. Facebook has also abandonned the process of always asking a user who has deleted an app to rate it, fearing that this was affecting ratings negatively.

Whilst a high score obviously carries its own inherent advantages, the bigger draw of a five-star rating is the prominence which it can afford an app on lists and leaderboards. Once an app gains that exposure, it can enter a cycle which keeps it artificially promoted.

A ratings system in itself helps to combat that already, because amplified poor consumer feedback becomes even more apparently negative. In systems which rely purely on downloads, as the iOS App Store once did, companies began using block downloads to secure all important 'first page' positions on top 25 lists to increase exposure.

That problem was partially addressed by Apple with alterations to the algorithms used to generate chart positions, but Facebook's take seems to be going a step further to ensure accurate representation.