FTC Cracks Whip on Mobile App Marketers Promising Effective Acne Treatment

The Federal Trade Commission is aiming to clear the complexion of the mobile application world. That is, the FTC is looking to eradicate the smartphone application realm of misleading apps professing to treat or cure acne. And the effort is already paying off. According to a press release issued Monday by the FTC, “marketers who …   Read More

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The Federal Trade Commission is aiming to clear the complexion of the mobile application world. That is, the FTC is looking to eradicate the smartphone application realm of misleading apps professing to treat or cure acne.

And the effort is already paying off.

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 offending mobile applications were sold in Apple’s iTunes Store and Google’s Android Marketplace.

“The settlements in two separate cases would bar the marketers from making certain health-related claims without scientific evidence,” the release states.

The cases involving mobile apps “AcneApp” and “Acne Pwner” are the first the FTC has brought targeting health claims in the mobile application marketplace.

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 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%.” There were approximately 11,600 downloads of AcneApp from the iTunes store, where it was sold for $1.99.

The settlement orders would require Koby Brown and Gregory W. Pearson, doing business as DermApps, to pay $14,294, and Andrew N. Finkle, doing business as Acne Pwner, to pay $1,700.

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