Fakespot, known for its browser extensions that try to weed out fake product reviews, suddenly no longer has an iPhone or iPad app – because Amazon sent Apple a removal request, both Amazon and Fakespot confirm, and Apple decided to remove the app.
The giant retailer says he is concerned about how the new update to Fakespot will “wrap” its website without permission, and how it could theoretically be exploited to steal Amazon customer data. But Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah says Limit that Apple abruptly removed the app today without any explanation. Apple did not respond to several requests for comments.
A new Fakespot app was released just over a month ago on June 3rdand I can confirm that you let me log in to Amazon, browse and buy products from Fakespot on top of each other – I downloaded and tried it a few weeks ago to see if it could help detect fake reviews of some new purchases, but I didn’t conclude if it really helped.
Thank you to all of our users for implementing this new iOS app. Together, we will stop e-commerce fraud. We are coming up with more amazing products that will make safe shopping the gold standard of e-commerce. https://t.co/UyUnsOydzK
– Fakespot (@FakespotTweets) June 21, 2021
But in mid-June, says Fakespot founder, Amazon launched a notice of removal, and just a few hours ago, Apple finally sent a boring three-line email about how unfortunately the situation could not be settled amicably and that Fakespot has now been removed from the App Store. “Apple hasn’t even given us the ability to solve this,” Khalifah says. “We’ve only dedicated months of resources, time and money to this app.”
Amazon says it believes Fakespot violated Apple’s guideline 5.2.2, which includes:
5.2.2 Third Party Sites / Services: If your application uses, uses, commercializes access to, or displays the content of a third-party service, make sure you have special permission to do so in accordance with the terms of service. Permission must be provided upon request.
Amazon also says Fakespot adds code to its website, opens an attack vector and compromises customer information (including email addresses, addresses, credit card information and browser history), even though it says it really doesn’t know if Fakespot uses that information.
“This app provides customers with misleading information about our vendors and their products, damages the vendors’ business, and creates potential security risks. We appreciate Apple’s review of this app in accordance with its Appstore guidelines,” reads Amazon’s statement.
But while Fakespot admits the app injects code to display its own scores, he categorically denies the vulnerability and points out that apps with a web browser view are common – including coupon apps where Amazon doesn’t seem to have any problem with the webview browser. “
Regardless, it’s a blow to one of Amazon’s biggest direct critics of the review system, as Fakespot is regularly mentioned reports of Amazon inspection fraud. Amazon even bought search ads for the keyword Fakespot from the App Store to reduce the potential impact of the app:
“Amazon is willing to bully small businesses like ours showcasing cracks in their business,” Khalifah says, Amazon has realized people have chosen their app instead of the Amazon app. He said Fakespot collected 150,000 installations from the iOS App Store without spending money on marketing.
Amazon says it regularly inspects companies that try to invite fake reviews, and claims Fakespot’s ratings are mostly false. “We regularly review products where Fakespot rated product reviews as unreliable and whose results were incorrect more than 80% of the time. They simply do not have the information we have – such as the reviewer, the seller, and the product history – to determine the accuracy of the assessment. “Amazon suggests it does a much better job of finding fake reviews by analyzing 30 million of them a week, even though it clearly hasn’t stopped fakes and encouraged revision problems yet – something we’re still exploring Limit.
Amazon wouldn’t say it would have contacted the Android version of the Google app, but the app hasn’t been updated since 2019.
According to the founder of Fakespot, the company is weighing its legal options now because it believes mobile is the future of shopping. “We’re seeing a percentage of 60/40 now hovering in favor of a cell phone,” he tells me.