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Apple removes Fakespot app that hid fake product reviews on Amazon

Amazon had alleged that the Fakespot app provides customers misleading information about Amazon sellers and harms their businesses.

Story highlights
  • Apple has removed the Fakespot app from the Apple App Store on Amazon’s insistence.
  • Fakespot has now been removed from the App Store because it claimed to spot the fake reviews on Amazon,
  • Amazon had sent a takedown request to Apple soon after the app was launched.

Apple has removed the Fakespot app from the Apple App Store on Amazon's insistence. Fakespot, which was launched just over a month ago, has now been removed from the App Store because it claimed to spot the fake reviews on Amazon, and the e-tailer was clearly not impressed by this. Amazon had sent a takedown request to Apple soon after the app was launched. The e-commerce giant had alleged that the Fakespot app provides customers misleading information about Amazon sellers and harms their businesses. Amazon also hinted towards potential security risks associated with the data of customers.

"Yesterday, Apple removed our Secure Shopping App from the App Store after receiving a takedown notice from Amazon. Amazon's reasons for requesting the takedown of our app have no basis in fact or law and are an attempt to silence us from telling consumers the truth about Amazon," Fakespot posted a tweet from its official Twitter amount.

Fakespot has claimed that the app was a good companion for Amazon as it made their marketplace more transparent, but Amazon did not like that. Fakespot accused the e-commerce giant of allowing fake reviews and counterfeit in their marketplace, copy popular products like All Birds and pass them off as their own invention. The company went on to say that although Amazon had once admitted having a fake review problem, it blamed the social media companies for it, instead of taking the onus for it.

"While we are disappointed with Apple's decision, we understand that they were put in a very tough position and made the business decision not to wrestle with Amazon's lawyers. However, as all developers are aware, the Apple App Store is not a democracy and Apple is not a neutral arbitrator of facts and law. In the coming weeks and months, more of the story will come out, and we are very confident that we will prevail," Fakespot tweeted. The founder of the app also told The Verge that the app was taken down abruptly from the app store. Apple did not give any explanation to Fakespot above the removal.

Although Apple confirmed that it has removed the app, the Cupertino giant said that they reached out to Fakespot weeks before removing the app.

"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."

Fakespot has now urged users to download their Chrome or Firefox extensions to send a strong message to Amazon and other online marketplaces about transparency.

Amazon had sent a takedown request to Apple against the Fakespot app because it believed that the app puts the private data of customers at risk. It also accused the app of misguiding the customers about the sellers.