updated 04:40 pm EDT, Mon September 12, 2011
One developer misrepresented scientific study
The US Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement in the case of two mobile apps claiming to cure acne, reports say. In each instance, the apps pretended that colored light could be used to remove pimples and blemishes. The FTC has called the claims "baseless," and moreover accused the creators of one of the apps, AcneApp, of misusing a study on light-based acne therapy to claim scientific support for the app's concept. The AcneApp development team includes a dermatologist.
Before it was removed from the iOS App Store, AcneApp sold over 11,000 copies with a standard price of $1.99. The other app, an Android title called Acne Pwner, was downloaded some 3,300 times under a 99-cent pricetag before being pulled from Google's Android Market.
The FTC notes that the case represents the first time it has targeted mobile apps for exaggerated health claims. Under the terms of the settlement, AcneApp's developers will be required to pay the FTC $14,294. Acne Pwner's lone developer is being asked to pay a much smaller penalty worth $1,700.