Facebook will disable ‘Like’ button in third-party mobile apps

Three years after Facebook rolled out a version of its “Like” button for developers to feature in their mobile apps, the company is shutting it down.

Starting on February 6, 2018, the native “Like” button embedded in third-party iOS and Android apps will no longer work, the company announced to developers earlier this week.

As a result, people will not be able to tap a button in a brand’s app to “like” its Facebook page or an article in a publisher’s app to help boost its reach in Facebook’s news feed. However, developers can opt to create their own buttons within their apps that link to their Facebook Pages so that people can tap those buttons to open Facebook’s app or mobile site to the developer’s Page and “like” it, said a Facebook spokesperson.

It’s unclear how widely adopted Facebook’s native “Like” button was among mobile apps and the extent to which that played a role in the company’s decision to deprecate.

“We’re continuously evaluating how to best serve our developer community. To support this effort, we recently reviewed our product offerings to ensure our resources are focused on building and enhancing the solutions that create the most value for developers. As a result, some products will sunset in order for us to build new products for our developer community,” according to a post published by Facebook this week to its blog for developers that announced the shutdown.

In addition to the native “Like” button, Facebook is also deprecating app invites. The in-app feature enabled people to solicit their friends on Facebook to try out a mobile app. When Facebook introduced the feature in March 2015, the company billed it as a way for developers to organically grow their apps’ user bases. “Word-of-mouth is a primary driver of organic installs on mobile. App invites combines this powerful means of app discovery with the social context we provide to grow your audience organically,” according to a still-live page on Facebook’s developer site describing app installs. But “organically” is another word for free, and when it comes to companies using Facebook to grow their own businesses, little comes free.