Fakespot, known for its web browser extensions that try to weed out fake product reviews, suddenly no longer has an iPhone or iPad app — because Amazon sent Apple a takedown request, both Amazon and Fakespot confirm, and Apple decided to remove the app.
The giant retailer says it was concerned about how a new update to the Fakespot app was “wrapping” its website without permission, and how that could be theoretically exploited to steal Amazon customer data. But Fakespot founder Saoud Khalifah tells The Verge that Apple abruptly removed the app today without any explanation. Apple didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
Two abusive monopolists walk into a bar.
Well, Amazon could *technically* be correct in their complaint, but it does not make it right. Especially taking down an entire app, instead of blocking an update sounds like a step too far.
That being said, I went onto the fakespot web page, and there are some concerning signs.
First, they seem to strongly discourage the regular old “analyzer” (their name for the web application). You need to hunt though the “hamburger” menu to find it.
Instead, they try to get you to install an “extension”, or a mobile app. This was their chrome version:
And the privacy summary lists:
This is a bit too much if their only purpose was alerting you to potential fake reviews. Especially tracking your ID would be a big no-no.
And from their own privacy information page:
So, even though I find the abrupt actions of Amazon and Apple a bit concerning, I also find the recent changes in the fakespot not so good either.
I get they need to earn money to provide the service, and advertisement is a valid option. So I am not going to go on a full blame mode.