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Apple removed the Fakespot app because Amazon didn’t like that it highlighted its fake reviews

Amazon says the app uses its content without permission.

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Image: KnowTechie

Fakespot is a popular app for combating fraudulent review scores on online shopping platforms like Amazon or Shopify, but if you want to use it, you’ll need an Android phone.

That’s because Apple has pulled it from the App Store at Amazon’s behest, claiming that the app supplies misleading information and has potential security risks.

The rating system Fakespot uses to grade Amazon listings scans through the reviews section and gives it a grade between A and F. Then the app gives recommendations of similar items that have better grades, indicating higher consumer satisfaction. It’s a great tool since the review sections of most online shopping services are rife with paid reviews and fakery, but is it also faking things?

That’s what Amazon thinks, saying that apps on the App Store should not include false information or features. That’s possibly due to Fakespot changing how their app worked back in May. The change now shows Amazon’s website listings with Fakespot’s ratings and content as an overlay. Amazon says it doesn’t allow non-Amazon apps to use its website content in this way.

apple fakespot app on amazon listings
Image: Amazon

Amazon also thinks Fakespot’s code allows them to track customers, a claim that Fakespot CEO Saoud Khalifah denies. Amazon made similar claims against PayPay-owned Honey last January.

Would Amazon have asked Apple to remove Fakespot’s app if they hadn’t started using the Amazon listings as part of an overlay? Well, that’s how the app used to work, without showing Amazon’s listings, and it was happily left alone for years.

Combating fake reviews is a necessary part of the internet, but so is protecting one’s own brand. Apple was probably was justified in pulling the app, as it would pull any other app that uses another app or website in its entirety without permission.

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