The Fakespot app has been removed from Apple’s iOS App Store, as of Friday. In case you are unaware, Fakespot is a service that allows Amazon to filter and hide any fake product reviews, which was launched just last month. Interestingly, the removal of the app comes after online shopping giant Amazon itself requested the same.
Without Proper Explanation
The app’s founder, Saoud Khalifah said in an interview to The Verge that Apple proceeded to take the service down without even explaining the exact reason. Nevertheless, developers have confirmed that the takedown notice was served to them by Amazon back in June itself, and as such, the app has been removed from the App Store on iPhone a iPad.
How the app functions is quite interesting, by the way. Much like its web version, the platform integrates into Amazon’s official site, so as to identify fake reviews through unofficial methods. However, the online retail giant says that specific codes are injected into its service, which can compromise user data while also providing “misleading information” about sellers and vendors. It also says that an attack vector is opened up due to the code injection, which can jeopardize scores of user data, from addresses, email IDs, credit card data, and even browser histories.
At the same time, the Fakespot app itself has admitted to injecting codes to “display its own score,” it denies any vulnerability.
Prohibiting Third-Party Content
Meanwhile, Amazon Inc. has confirmed that it had been it that had asked Apple to take the app down under guideline 5.2.2, which prohibits the use of third-party materials in apps by developers without due permission.
At the same time, the developers at Fakespot have said that Amazon actually bought the search results for the “Fakespot” keyword, in order to prevent users from search it up on the App Store. Now, when one looks up the keyword “Fakespot”, the first search result shows the official Amazon app, with an “Ad” badge.
Other Services are Mostly Wrong
While Amazon hasn’t really put forward any concrete reasons for the suspension (according to Fakespot anyway), Amazon has said that it is already in possession of the “necessary tools” that it needs to identify fake reviews and put a worth a stop to them. As such, any third-party services that claim to provide for similar functions have been deemed to be “mostly wrong.”