Fakespot has been a good web browser extension for wiping out fake product reviews but suddenly it is no more available as an iPhone or iPad app because Amazon has sent Apple a takedown request. According to the latest news, both Amazon and Fakespot have confirmed that Apple has removed the app.
Amazon said it is concerned about how a new Fakespot update was “wrapping” its website without permission, and how it could be theoretically exploited to steal Amazon customer data. Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah said Apple has removed the app without any clarification or explanation.
Note that the Fakespot apperceived its last update just over a month ago. In mid-June, Amazon initiated a takedown notice. Khalifah said he received a blunt three-line email from Apple saying how it regrets that the situation couldn’t be resolved amicably and that Fakespot has now been removed from the App Store. Khalifah said “We just dedicated months of resources and time and money into this app. Apple hasn’t even given us the ability to solve this.”
He further said “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.”
On 29th June, Apple did mention that it “may be forced to pull” Fakespot from the App Store but throughout this time, Apple never provided any kind of guidance or conversation to mitigate the issue. Khalifah said that he was shocked that “Apple decided to side with Amazon without any proof.”
On the other hand, Amazon clarified that Fakespot violated Apple guideline 5.2.2. Amazon believes Fakespot injects code into its website, opening up an attack vector and putting customer data (including email, addresses, credit card info, and your browser history) at risk.
Amazon gave the following statement: “The app in question provides customers with misleading information about our sellers and their products, harms our sellers’ businesses, and creates potential security risks. We appreciate Apple’s review of this app against its Appstore guidelines.”
As a reiteration, Fakespot admitted the allegation about injecting codes to display its own scores but denied any kind of vulnerability. Khalifah said, “Amazon is willing to bully little companies like ours that showcase the cracks in their company.”
Before getting wiped out Fakespot racked up 150,000 installs from the iOS App Store and that also without spending any money on marketing. Amazon has not answered whether the company communicated with Google too about the Android version of the app.