Bank accused of writing fake App Store reviews for official app
You’d think that, of all businesses out there, you could trust a bank, right? According to a shocking new report, the answer is a disappointing no.
UK banking chain the Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of writing fake reviews for its new banking app in the App Store. The minor slip-up that gave the game away: the fact that the five-star reviews were published before the Bó app went live.
The Telegraph newspaper notes that the reviews praised the app’s notifications systems and design. Subsequent app reviews, published after the app was released, called hijinks on the good press. “Was keen to test this out but concerned by the mass of five-star reviews parroting the marketing materials,” reads one.
Apple’s App Store guidelines prohibit attempts to manipulate the review system. Apple threatens that people breaking this rule could be expelled from the developer program.
For its part, RBS puts it down to, frankly, enthusiastic beta testers. It claims that 2,800 people signed up for Bó as part of its pilot phase. This included employees.
“We test our products, including with staff, before they are available to our customers and use feedback from pilots to improve the services and products we offer,” the bank claimed.
Rethinking the bank of App Store reviews?
Interestingly, Apple seems to be in the middle of considering its approach to reviews. Last month, it made the decision to remove the Ratings and Reviews section of the Apple Online Store. It’s not clear exactly why the decision was made. Apple also hasn’t repeated it with the App Store, which is far greater source of user reviews. However, it does suggest that Apple may be rethinking the way it provides reviews of its products.
In an age of fake news, could ordinary App Store write-ups be next to go? That would certainly avoid problems like this one.