Apple removed Fakespot, a popular app for detecting fake product reviews, was removed from its App Store after Amazon complained that the app provided misleading information and potential security risks.
The Fakespot app works by analyzing the credibility of Amazon listing reviews and assigning them an A to F score. It provides shoppers with recommendations for products with the highest customer satisfaction.
The e-commerce giant said it reported Apple to Fakespot for investigation after it raised concerns that a redesigned version of the app had confused consumers by displaying Amazon’s website in the app with the Fakespot code and content superimposed on top of it.
Amazon says it does not allow apps to do this. and that the application in question provides customers with misleading information about sellers and their products, harms its sellers’ business, and creates potential security risks.
After a review from Apple, the app is no longer available on the App Store.
Misleading or false user reviews have proven to be a huge problem for online retailers, including the e-commerce giant.
The company recently stepped up its efforts to spot fake reviews. The third-party market, made up of millions of sellers, grew to account for more than half of the company’s total sales. But it has become a breeding ground for fake reviews, counterfeit and unsafe products.
Regulators in the United States and abroad have taken steps to curb fake reviews on and off Amazon.
As fake reviews continue to proliferate online, third-party apps and websites have sprung up to help shoppers spot them, such as Fakespot, ReviewMeta, and ReconBob.
Apple said in a statement that on June 8, Amazon began a dispute with Fakespot over intellectual property rights.
Apple said it provided Fakespot with steps to keep its app in the Store and gave it plenty of time to resolve the issue. I contacted Fakespot on June 29, weeks before the app was removed from the App Store.
Read also: Amazon and Google face investigation over fake reviews
Amazon asked Apple to remove Fakespot
Apple did not explain how Fakespot violated the App Store guidelines. But Amazon has indicated two subsections of the Apple App Store guidelines may have been violated by Fakespot.
One principle states that applications must ensure that they are allowed to use, access, monetize, or offer a third-party service. Another guideline states that applications should not include error information and features.
Amazon also claims that Fakespot’s programming technology makes it possible for the app to collect and track information from customers.
In January, the company made similar allegations against PayPal-owned Honey, a browser extension that allows users to find coupons while shopping online.
Fakespot founder and CEO Saud Khalifa said he disputed the claim that the app posed a security risk.
He clarified that while Fakespot collects some user data, it does not sell it to third parties.
Khalifa added that many apps use the same programming technology to embed a web browser display, as coupon providers.
He said many apps and websites also collect and track user information, including Amazon.
Also Read: How to Spot Fake Product Reviews on Amazon