Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Google Facebook Apple

Facebook’s Power Struggle Over App Links

Employees at Yelp have seen a troubling trend recently: Facebook sometimes appears to be blocking their app. Even if customers have downloaded Yelp, links posted to its Facebook page direct them back into the social network’s own browser. Instead of sending viewers into Yelp’s restaurant review app, they stay stuck in Facebook.

Yelp says that traffic from Facebook isn’t material to its business, and isn’t sure of the cause. But the broader issue is clear: The potential for so-called deep links to tear down walls between apps has diminished over the past year. Deep links—intended to make links to content in mobile apps as shareable as web pages—that were posted to Facebook haven’t redirected people to outside apps on iPhones for months, said Alex Austin, CEO of Branch Metrics, a startup that creates deep links for companies like Yelp, Target and Jet. Those links used to drive users to outside apps about 80% of the time last fall, but now only work when brands buy ads.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

Receive original reporting about the most important tech companies, from Apple to Uber, in your inbox or online.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to dozens of events a year, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Entertainment

Why Snap Should Tap Apple or Tencent for Cash

By Tom Dotan

Media Entertainment

Why Hulu’s Heavy Losses Pose Question for Disney and Comcast

By Tom Dotan

Autonomous Vehicles Google Apple

Apple Ramps Up Self-Driving Car Program With Waymo Hire

By Amir Efrati and Jessica E. Lessin

Asia Google E-commerce

Behind JD Deal, a Google Plan to Crack China Through Hardware

By Juro Osawa

“It’s a race to the bottom that’ll frustrate users. The phone is not just the Facebook app.”