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  • 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.

    Source: FTC
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FTC 'Pops' Misleading Acne-Curing iOS, Android Apps started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Lombardo Joe's Avatar
      Lombardo Joe -
      I don't know how the law works too well, but in theory, shouldn't they turn over ALL the profit?
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      FTC can stop misleading advertising and stop something from selling as well as fine a company, however they do not have the power to make a company to return funds to customer. That depends on the judicial system, people get together and start a class action lawsuit.I personally think people who believe colored lights shining on a zit would get rid of them is not smart enough to do that...
    1. Lombardo Joe's Avatar
      Lombardo Joe -
      True. Chances are they were teenagers, main zit population and charged up a parent's account.

      It seems kinda like the only way to win is to break the rules and do it well enough to still come out in the black even after court.
    1. bluestrk's Avatar
      bluestrk -
      wtf?
    1. brownlace's Avatar
      brownlace -
      I can understand the FTC's concern in this matter, but for the individuals who downloaded the app in hopes of removing acne, in my personal opinion, absolutely should not have their money returned.

      Hilarious!
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lombardo Joe View Post
      True. Chances are they were teenagers, main zit population and charged up a parent's account.

      It seems kinda like the only way to win is to break the rules and do it well enough to still come out in the black even after court.
      It looks like they already lost a couple lawsuit against them, the court costs alone took whatever profit they earned. If there is a class action lawsuit against them all they can do is file bankruptcy.

      Quote Originally Posted by brownlace View Post
      I can understand the FTC's concern in this matter, but for the individuals who downloaded the app in hopes of removing acne, in my personal opinion, absolutely should not have their money returned.

      Hilarious!
      From what I hear the app is based on clinical tests done at some university, but I believe the difference is the intensity of the color light that shines on the acne.
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      Silly people will do ANYTHING for vanity. These are the same people who get scammed by the Prince of Nigeria who wants to pay you $50M if you send him a check for $1,500 lol. These are the same suckers who pay for an iPhone unlock that doesn't exist. It's just sad.
    1. Mrteacup's Avatar
      Mrteacup -
      haha i think the only reason they really decided to consider this is the fact that one of them has acne and was tricked into buying a 100$ app to cure it. some one is raging in the ftc about being tricked
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      Acne: The occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin. Light does not cure inflammation or infection. You don't see doctors writing prescriptions for light when a cut gets infected or you pull a muscle! The FCC should have written a letter to everyone that bought the app and told them pigs fly and money grows on trees. DUMB
    1. scottvalentine's Avatar
      scottvalentine -
      Quote Originally Posted by Poseidon79 View Post
      Acne: The occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin. Light does not cure inflammation or infection. You don't see doctors writing prescriptions for light when a cut gets infected or you pull a muscle! The FCC should have written a letter to everyone that bought the app and told them pigs fly and money grows on trees. DUMB
      Obviously the iPhone doesn't emit light in the right spectrum to kill bacteria. However in Microbiology 1, there is a lab experiment that shows how bacteria exposed to UV light will die. I performed it by culturing an agar and placing it under a star shaped stencil which was then exposed to UV for one minute. The next day I had a agar dish with bacteria growing everywhere except for the star shape that had been exposed to the UV light. I also submit anecdotal evidence; when I went into a tanning booth, the zits on my *** that ive had for years cleared up.

      My point is that while the iPhone will not cure anything. I submit to you that there is scientific basis for light in the right spectrum and intensity to kill bacteria.