Amazon accused of “bullying” as it gets fake review spotting app removed from Apple store

Amazon has successfully had an app removed from the Apple App Store which detects and reports fake product reviews.

Fakespot, a popular app which analyses Amazon product reviews and flags those likely to be fake or generated by a bot, was removed by Apple on Friday.

It came after Amazon reported the app to Apple for investigation over accusations provided customers with misleading information, broke its app store rules and posed a potential security risk.

According to CNBC, Amazon complained that Fakespot displays Amazon’s website inside its app, breaking app store rules as it didn’t gain permission from the retail giant.

It also accused Fakespot of misleading customers by placing its own code into Amazon’s website to display its ratings, which give reviews a grade between A and F depending on how credible they are.

“The app in question provides customers with misleading information about our sellers and their products, harms our sellers’ businesses, and creates potential security risks,” Amazon said.

READ MORE: Amazon blames social media for fake reviews crisis as more evidence of review manipulation revealed

According to Apple it provided Fakespot with “ample time” and provided it with measures it could have taken resolve the issue.

However, Fakespot’s chief executive Saoud Khalifah said that Apple “acted on this with zero proof” and that it acted without adequate warnings.

Speaking to The Verge, he added: “Amazon is willing to bully little companies like ours that showcase the cracks in their company.”

Amazon is currently under investigation in the UK over the prevalence of fake reviews on its platform, while both the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and consumer watchdog Which? have repeatedly demanded more action from the retail giant to stamp out the practice.

Last month, Amazon, which now sees over 50 per cent of all items sold on its platform come from third party sellers, called on social media giants to take greater responsibility for fake reviews which are largely facilitated on their platforms.

Despite preventing more than 200 million fake reviews from being posted last year, Amazon has largely failed to contain the issue and has now pointed the finger at its rival tech giants.

“While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale, it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them,” Amazon said.

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