Fake Review Detector App Fakespot Kicked out of Apple App Store on Amazon’s Request

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 17 Jul 2021

iPhone App Store

Popular fake review detector app Fakespot has been kicked from the Apple App Store. The app which helped people to spot fake reviews on popular shopping websites is no longer available on the App Store. According to a report from The Verge, it was Amazon that requested Apple to boot the app from the App Store.

Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah told The Verge that Apple removed the app from the App Store without any explanations. He confirmed that he got a takedown notice from Amazon in mid-June, and the app was kicked from the App Store this week. In a statement, he said that the Cupertino-based giant had not given them ample time to fix the issue. “I’m shocked Apple decided to side with Amazon without any proof,” said Khalifah.

Apple, in a statement to The Verge, said that the accusations put by Khalifah were not 100% true.

“This was a dispute over intellectual property rights initiated by Amazon on June 8 and within hours we ensured both parties were in contact with one another, explaining the issue and steps for the developer to take to keep their app on the store and giving them ample time to resolve the issue. On June 29, we again reached out to Fakespot weeks before removing their app from the App Store.”

Amazon’s Allegations

Amazon put three allegations of non-compliance on Fakespot. According to Amazon, Fakespot violated App Store guideline number 5.2.2.

5.2.2 Third-Party Sites/Services: If your app uses, accesses, monetizes access to, or displays content from a third-party service, ensure that you are specifically permitted to do so under the service’s terms of use. Authorization must be provided upon request.”

Along with the non-compliance with App Store, Amazon also said that Fakespot “injects” a code into its website. It says that the code isn’t secure enough and might put customer’s data at risk.

Moreover, Amazon said that it found Fakespot “untrustworthy.” Amazon claims that Fakespot’s review detector was wrong “more than 80% of the time.” Amazon claims it does a better job at finding fake reviews, by analyzing over 30 million reviews every week.

Fakespot Denies

Khalifah, although agreed with the code injection Fakespot does, he didn’t agree with the fact that it is vulnerable. He says that the web app injects the same code used by many coupon services, such as Honey, and Amazon doesn’t have any problem with those services.

“Amazon is willing to bully little companies like ours that showcase the cracks in their company,” Khalifah said in a statement.

Fakespot founder says that the company is “weighing the legal options now.”

Do you use the Fakespot service to spot fake reviews on Amazon? Do you think the service is reliable? Do you think this is just another case of a big tech firm bullying a startup? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below!

[Via The Verge]