Amazon’s appeal to Apple on Fakespot leads to removal


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Amazon won Fakespot, a popular service on a working web identify false criticisms on the e-commerce platform, the Apple App Store has started. The incident has pitted the two biggest giants in the tech industry against a small company, and Fakespot is crying.

As he reported the Verge on Friday, the problem began with a new update to the Fakespot app that Amazon claimed could be used to steal its customers ’data. Amazon contacted Apple on June 8 and asked to remove the application. Apple continued that Amazon and Fakespot try to solve the problem on their own. That apparently failed, and on Friday Apple removed Fakespot from the App Store, an action Fakespot says is Apple he leaned toward Amazon without any evidence.

Both Apple and Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah confirmed to Gizmodo that this is a dispute initiated by Amazon.

“This was an intellectual property dispute that Amazon launched on June 8 and in a few hours we ensured that both parties were in contact with each other, explaining the problem and the steps the developer needed to take to keep their app in store and giving them enough time is to solve the problem, ”Apple told Gizmodo on Saturday. “On June 29, we contacted Fakespot again weeks before removing their app from the App Store.”

Gizmodo contacted Amazon several times on Friday and Saturday to request comment on the matter, but we have not received a response by the time of publication. We will definitely update this blog if we do.

According to Verge, Amazon had various complaints about Fakespot. When it comes to the Apple App Store, Amazon believed that Fakespot – which also has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, as well as an Android app –violated guideline 5.2.2 on third party websites and services. The guidelines are as follows Apple’s website:

“If your application uses, accesses, monetizes, or displays content from a third party service, ensure that you are expressly permitted to do so under the terms of service. Approval must be provided upon request. ”

Amazon also said Fakespot “injects” code into its website, which opens it up to attack and jeopardizes customer data, including email, addresses, credit card information and browser history. However, Amazon has admitted it does not know if Fakespot uses this information.

“The application in question provides customers with misleading information about our sellers and their products, harms the business of our sellers and creates potential security risks,” Amazon said in a statement for Verge. “We appreciate Apple’s review of this app against the App Store guidelines.”

In addition, Amazon claims that Fakespot doesn’t even do everything so good, stating that the companyRatings of unreliable product reviews were wrong more than 80% of the time. Amazon said it in turn has accurate information to determine if the review is real or incorrect. In June, Amazon is the state that false criticism is a problem, but they claim that he has devoted significant resources to solving it. The company said it stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews in 2020 before the customer ever saw them.

On the other side of the dispute is Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot, who claims that Amazon is wrong and that many of his allegations are unfounded. Khalifah spoke to Gizmod by phone on Friday and called Amazon’s claim that it could steal users’ personal data “absolute garbage,” adding that the company does not monetize by selling user data and would never do so.

He also said he does not believe Fakespot violated App Store guidelines Amazon says he violated them.

“We are absolutely right to be able to state our independent opinion on reviews and vendors, and we are here to bring the best reliable information to our consumers,” Khalifah said. “This is the whole premise behind Fakespot and the mission we have as a company. Any turning around, breaking the rules and things like that, [is false and] open to interpretation. In this case, Amazon’s interpretation may be that we are violating it, but they have not provided any evidence that we are doing so. “

Khalifah also denies Amazon’s claim that “injecting” code is a security risk. He claimed that Fakespot displays Amazon’s website within his app, which is the same thing he did in his previous app that was in the App Store for many years. In response to Amazon’s claim that Fakespot is wrong in more than 80% of cases, Khalifah said the company came up with that number “From the air.”

Fakespot set off as Khalifah’s personal side project in college after being cheated in 2014. Since then, has more than 25 million users uses Fakespot. The app had more than 150,000 users, without any marketing pressure, on iOS before it was removed, he said.

“If Amazon had done its job, there would have been no need for my company [or] anyone’s company that provides an analysis of these reviews, ”Khalifah said. “And people would not doubt that the criticism they read on Amazon is real. But unfortunately, there is suspicion and misinformation is spreading on that platform and there is a huge amount of false reviews. “

Make no mistake – there are false reviews on Amazon. The last one In September, Amazon deleted about 20,000 reviews of seven of its top 10 reviewers in the UK after Financial Times they found they were making a profit by giving products five-star ratings.

Khalifah said the removal would significantly affect Fakespot as it took a lot of time and resources to do so. The company will explore all the options available to it to get its app back to the App Store, and in the meantime will continue to work on its apps on other platforms and browser extensions.

At this point, Khalifah said he had not received news that Amazon had sent its complaints to Google, where Fakespot’s Chrome and Android app extension lives.. It is probably more than likely that this will happen, he said.

“I’ve spent six years of my life building a Fakespot, the last six years. It is super disappointing to see a result like this, ”Khalifah said. “I just feel, you know, this shouldn’t be like that. And we shouldn’t have those kingdoms, so to speak, deciding who should be inside and who outside their platforms. ”

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