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Apple Senior Engineer: App Store App Moderation Is A Plastic Knife In A Gunfight



Litigation continues between Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, and Apple, and as part of this litigation, you can learn a lot about how and what works at Apple. Epic has already summoned Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and other top managers of the company to testify (tentatively this will happen in May), but this was not enough for them. The developer somehow got access to internal correspondence of Apple employees. In one, for example, an Apple anti-fraud engineer believes that App Store checks are insufficient.

Even Apple thinks that checking apps on the App Store is a circus.

Epic Games cited two particularly damning quotes from Eric Friedman, head of Apple’s algorithm development and anti-fraud division, writes the Financial Times, citing the case file. According to published legal documents, a senior Apple engineer compared the App Store’s protection against intruders with “Using a plastic butter knife in a firefight”

Epic vs Apple

In his correspondence, Friedman also compared Apple’s App Store moderation process to “a pretty lady who welcomes you to a Hawaiian airport.”

The moderation process is more like a pretty woman who greets you at a Hawaiian airport than a dog sniffing out drugs. Friedman

He also added that Apple does not have enough tools to deal with “sophisticated attackers.”

Why did it become public at all? The quotes were posted by Epic as further evidence that Apple used app validation as an excuse to tackle specific apps (in this case, Fortnite, which Apple removed from the App Store for violating store rules). Epic Games believes that app moderation in the App Store is nothing more than a clever trick on the part of Apple.

How app moderation works in the App Store

App Store

New privacy chips do not save Apple and users from cheating reviews

The iPhone maker claims that its sole control over the iOS app market is beneficial to consumers because moderators review all apps for security, privacy, and functionality. Epic claims this is not true, as many “leftist”, misleading, unsafe and rogue apps go through the screening process as if nothing had happened. Keyboard maker FlickType has recently provided examples of many of these from the past few months, including broken copies of his own apps.

When users downloaded one of these applications, the first screen was a blank interface with an “Unblock Now” button, the developer told 9to5Mac. – Click the Unblock Now button and the screen will ask you to confirm your $ 8 / week subscription for an app you haven’t tried and is not working.

Just this week, he talked about a VPN app that claimed to be “recommended by Apple” based on a high rating in the App Store, which was scored by a large number of fake reviews. Fake reviews are a whole problem for the app store, not only by Apple, but also by Google. So far, companies do not have a tool to deal with them, and you need to focus on reviews when downloading an application in LAST queue. Unfortunately, as we noticed in our Telegram chat, many conscientious developers are also forced to resort to purchased reviews, since otherwise they cannot withstand the competition.

Apple’s anti-fraud protection includes both automated checks and human moderation, and it’s unclear if Friedman is only referring to the first step that the computer runs or the entire process. In any case, the fact that Apple’s senior engineer tasked with preventing this kind of thing feels that the app validation process is clearly inadequate is definitely not going to help the Cupertino-based company in the upcoming antitrust case.

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