Apple on Friday removed the Fakespot app from the iOS App Store. 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 taken down following a request from Amazon itself.
That’s what Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah said The Verge that Apple removed the app without explaining the reasons. However, the developers confirm that Amazon sent them a removal notice in June, which is probably why the iOS app is no longer available to iPhone and iPad users.
The app, just like the browser extension, integrates with Amazon̵
Amazon also tells us that Fakespot injects code on its website, opens an attack vector and endangers customer data (including email, addresses, credit card information and your browser history), even though it says they do not know if Fakespot uses this information.
But while Fakespot admits that the app injects code to show its own scores, he categorically denies that there is any vulnerability, pointing out that apps that include a browser service are common – including coupon apps that Amazon seems to “have no problem with” to wrap around a web view browser. ”
Amazon confirms that they have asked Apple to remove the app under Guideline 5.2.2, which prohibits developers from using third-party content in an app without permission. 9to5Mac reported in August 2020 that Apple had used the same guideline to ban third-party apps that integrate with Tesla vehicles.
Fakespot developers pointed out that Amazon purchased search results for the keyword “Fakespot” in the App Store to prevent users from finding the app. When you search for “Fakespot” in the App Store, the official Amazon app now appears first in the list with an “Ad” tag. The app registered 150,000 installations on iOS devices during the period it was available on the App Store.
“Amazon is willing to bully small companies like ours that show the cracks in their company,” says Khalifah, suggesting that Amazon must have realized that people chose their app over the Amazon app. He says that Fakespot collected 150,000 installations from the iOS App Store, without spending money on marketing.
According to Amazon, the company already has the necessary tools to identify and stop false reviews, suggesting that third-party services that claim to do this “are largely wrong.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Apple has reached out to 9to5Mac to clarify the situation. According to the Cupertino-based company, Fakespot developers were notified of a dispute over intellectual property rights 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 dispute initiated by Amazon on June 8, and within a few hours we made sure both parties were in touch with each other, explaining the issue and the steps for the developer to take to keep their app in store and provide them good time to solve the problem. On June 29, we reached Fakespot again weeks before we removed their app from the App Store.
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