Truth and Justice the Amazon Apple Way

August 3, 2021

At the request of its good friend Amazon, Apple has come down on the side of preserving flawed and biased guidance. Mashable tells us that “Apple Boots App that Called BS on Fake Amazon Reviews from App Store.” Reporter Jack Morse writes:

“Publicly calling out frauds has always been a risky proposition. That reality came crashing down hard Friday for an app designed to spot fake Amazon reviews, after Apple kicked it out of its App Store. Apple confirmed in a statement that it removed the app after Amazon reached out. The news of Fakespot’s outing was first reported by The Verge. We reached out to Apple, Amazon, and Fakespot to confirm the Verge’s reporting. An Apple spokesperson provided a statement, attributed to the company, which says Amazon kicked off the inter-company beef early in June. It also insists that Apple attempted to give both parties time to work things out.”

Apple frames the issue as a matter of intellectual property rights, and insists it tried to work with Fakespot before removing the app. Saoud Khalifah, Fakespot’s founder and CEO, disagrees. He stated in a phone interview:

“Apple are claiming that they gave us a notice that they are going to take us down, but these are all template emails that seem to be from a robot. Anyone would be disappointed with this whole process, especially when your livelihood depends on it.”

Amazon claims Fakespot spreads misleading information, harms its sellers’ businesses, and even makes for security risks. Sure. The app attracted attention in 2019 when it reported a surge in fake reviews around the much-hyped Amazon Prime Day. The existence of fake reviews is a known problem, one the FTC has taken action against. We are also reminded of all the counterfeit products that plague the commerce site and the fake reviews that keep them moving. Nevertheless, Apple has decided it is Fakespot who is in the wrong here. Ah, capitalism at its finest.

Cynthia Murrell, August 2, 2021

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