FTC axes apps that claimed to zap zits
'No app for that,' says agency as it settles false advertising charges with makers of anti-acne apps
Computerworld - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week said it had reached agreements with developers of two smartphone apps who were charged with making false claims that their software could cure acne.
"When it comes to curing acne, there's no app for that," said Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the FTC, in a statement Thursday.
The FTC's action was the first-ever against overblown health claims by mobile apps, the agency said.
AcneApp and Acne Pwner, which were available on Apple's iOS App Store and Google's Android Market, respectively, claimed that they treated blemishes and pimples with colored light produced by smartphones.
The FTC called the claims "baseless" and accused the makers of AcneApp of misusing a scientific study on light-based acne therapy to convince consumers that the app worked.
According to the FTC, AcneApp, which was priced at $1.99 on the App Store, was downloaded more than 11,000 times; the Android-based Acne Pwner, meanwhile, was purchased by approximately 3,300 consumers. Acne Pwner was priced at 99 cents.
Both apps have since been dropped by the App Store and Android Market.
AcneApp received widespread media coverage in late 2009 and early 2010 after its debut, with stories about the iPhone app appearing on The Huffington Post, ABC News and the U.K's Daily Mail websites.
The proposed settlements with the two apps' makers bar them from making acne-treatment claims and require them to pay the FTC. The agency tagged the developers of AcneApp, one of whom is a dermatologist, for $14,294, while the sole developer of Acne Pwner will pay $1,700.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Mobile Apps in Computerworld's Mobile Apps Topic Center.
- Use the Mobile App Mix to Choose an Enterprise App Store Strategy In this research report Gartner outlines how organizations can optimally secure, distribute, and manage mobile applications for employees and contracted workers.
- The Case for Mobile Apps Today's mobile apps turn handheld devices into e-book readers, portable navigation systems, digital wallets and more. And for organizations with mobile workers, they...
- The 5 Big Lies About Going Mobile You've heard about the power of mobile to change your business. But have you realized your mobile potential? It's about much more than...
- Transforming enterprise applications for mobile environments This new white paper explains how Dell Application Modernization and Development Solution Set can help you understand when to develop new mobile apps,...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt. All Mobile Apps White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!