Facebook has introduced a new Rate Apps sidebar module in an effort to get members to provide star ratings for apps they’ve recently connected with.

The social network began displaying star ratings again in late March, after eliminating app reviews and ratings several months prior. The average star rating for your app appears on the right-hand side of Pages, as well as when users hover over the name of your app in the News Feed.

Facebook has also updated the design of the “rate recently used apps” feature that is seen on canvas Pages below a member’s bookmarks. Both versions prompt individuals to give apps a rating out of five stars. Additional design changes include larger stars and the elimination of the question, “How would you rate app XYZ?”

Currently there doesn’t seem to be a way for individuals to choose which apps to rate. Previously, they could visit a tab on any app profile to rate it. However, this made the system easy to manipulate, so now members are prompted randomly, such as when visiting a fan Page of something unrelated to the app.

While encouraging feedback is great, it’s still unclear how effective stars are in letting people know what kind of experience they will have with the app. As an app developers, you don’t have access to information about your ratings, which makes it hard to act on the feedback. It’s also possible that the ratings provide Facebook with additional data about the type of apps users are interested in.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: Doug Hay]