FTC 'Pops' Misleading Acne-Curing iOS, Android Apps
The Federal Trade Commission wants to remove the "blemishes" from the mobile app world. That is, the FTC is hunkering down and digging in on smartphone app developers who mislead consumers into believing that their iPhone and Android apps can effectively treat or cure acne.
The first case brought by the FTC involves mobile apps "AcneApp" and "Acne Pwner." According to a press release issued Monday by the FTC, "marketers who advertised that their smartphone applications could treat acne have agreed to stop making baseless claims in order to settle FTC charges."
"The settlements in two separate cases would bar the marketers from making certain health-related claims without scientific evidence," the release states. "The FTC alleged that the mobile apps were advertised to work in the same way: both claimed to be able to treat acne with colored lights emitted from smartphones or mobile devices. Consumers were advised to hold the display screen next to the area of skin to be treated for few minutes daily while the app was activated."
According to the FTC complaint, there were approximately 3,300 downloads of AcnePwner, which was offered for $0.99 cents in the Android Marketplace. Ads for Acne Pwner stated, "Kill ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!" The marketers of AcneApp claimed, "This app was developed by a dermatologist. A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology showed blue and red light treatments eliminated p-acne bacteria (a major cause of acne) and reduces skin blemishes by 76%."
The FTC says that there were roughly 11,600 downloads of AcneApp from the iTunes store, where it was sold for $1.99. The settlement orders dictate that Koby Brown and Gregory W. Pearson, doing business as DermApps, should pay $14,294, and Andrew N. Finkle, doing business as Acne Pwner, should cough up $1,700.