Apple removed the Fakespot app from the iOS App Store on Friday. Fakespot, which is a service for filtering and hiding fake product reviews on Amazon, launched its iOS app last month, but now the app has been removed following a request from Amazon itself.
Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah said The edge that Apple deleted the app without even explaining the reasons. However, the developers confirm that Amazon sent them a takedown notice in June, which is likely the reason why the iOS app is no longer available to iPhone and iPad users.
The app, just like its web browser extension, integrates with Amazon’s website using unofficial methods to identify fake reviews in product pages. Amazon, on the other hand, claims that the app injects code that can compromise user data, as well as provide consumers with “misleading information” about sellers.
Amazon also tells us that Fakespot is injecting code into its website, opening up an attack vector and putting customer data (including emails, addresses, credit card information, and customer history at risk). your browser), although it says it doesn’t actually know if Fakespot is using this information.
But while Fakespot admits that the app injects code to display its own scores, he categorically denies there is any vulnerability and points out that apps that include a web browser view are common – including coupon apps. that Amazon seems “to have no problem wrapping around a web browser.”
Amazon confirms that it has asked Apple to remove the app under Policy 5.2.2, which prohibits developers from using third-party content in an app without permission. 9to5Mac reported in August 2020 that Apple was using the same directive to ban third-party apps that integrate with Tesla vehicles.
5.2.2 Third-party sites / services: If your app uses, accesses, monetizes access to, or displays content from a third-party service, make sure that you are specifically authorized to do so under the terms of service for the service. Authorization must be provided upon request.
The developers of Fakespot pointed out that Amazon had purchased search results for the keyword “Fakespot” from the App Store to prevent users from finding the app. Searching for “Fakespot” in the App Store now shows the official Amazon app first in the list with an “Announcement” badge. The app recorded 150,000 installs on iOS devices during the time it was available on the App Store.
“Amazon is ready to intimidate small businesses like ours that showcase their business flaws,” Khalifah said, suggesting that Amazon must have realized that people are choosing their app over the Amazon app. He says Fakespot has racked up 150,000 installs from the iOS App Store, without spending any money on marketing.
According to Amazon, the company already has the tools to identify and stop bogus reviews, suggesting that third-party services that claim to do so “are mostly wrong.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Apple contacted 9to5Mac to clarify the situation. According to the Cupertino-based company, the developers of Fakespot have been made aware of an intellectual property rights dispute initiated by Amazon, which resulted in the app being removed from the App Store.
You can read Apple’s comment below:
This was an intellectual property rights dispute initiated by Amazon on June 8th and within hours we made sure the two parties were in contact with each other, explaining the issue and the steps. to be followed by the developer to keep their app on the store and give them enough time. to solve the problem. On June 29, we contacted Fakespot again weeks before removing their app from the App Store.
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