Apple removes “Fakespot” app against false Amazon reviews

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Apple and its app review team got caught between the front lines of a dispute between Amazon and a start-up whose software is said to be able to detect false reviews on the e-commerce platform. The application called Fakespot has since been removed from the App Store. The reason are complaints from Amazon, according to which Fakespot has integrated the group’s website into its app without authorization (“wrapping”) and could potentially “steal” customer data from Amazon users.

According to Amazon, Fakespot violates App Store Rule 5.2.2, according to which applications can only use, access and monetize content from a third-party service if approved. Fakespot also gave customers “misleading information” about Amazon sellers and their products. Fakespot thus damages their business and is a potential security risk. The e-commerce giant thanked Apple for investigating Fakespot.

Fakespot admitted to the IT blog The Verge assume that months have gone into developing the app. Amazon is ready to “bully small companies”, which shows that there are “cracks in the company”. According to founder Saoud Khalifah, Fakespot is said to have reached 150,000 installations since the app was released a month ago. There are different opinions about whether the app is really helpful; an author of The Verge said that this had not become clear to him during a short test.

The app work in a similar way to the browser plug-ins already offered by the company. It analyzes Amazon reviews using an algorithm and then delivers a rating for them – to check whether they are real reviews from real people. Amazon claims that fakespot is wrong 80 percent of the time. The app lacks the necessary information to make a decision.

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Apple itself washes its hands in innocence. In a statement opposite MacRumods said the group, this is about a dispute over intellectual property. This was initiated by Amazon on June 8th and it was ensured that both parties were in contact with each other within hours. It was explained which steps the developer would have to take to keep the app in the App Store. “We gave plenty of time to fix the problems.” Fakespot was last warned again at the end of June – “weeks before the removal of your app from the App Store”.

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