FTC Takes Aim at Unscrupulous Mobile App Marketers

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission stood up to marketers deceptively claiming their mobile apps could achieve some far-fetched things.

Chief among the claims criticized is that the apps in question could possibly detect symptoms of melanoma, even in its early stages.

“In two separate cases, marketers of MelApp and Mole Detective have agreed to settlements that bar them from continuing to make such unsupported claims,” the FTC explained in a news release.

The agency is pursuing charges against two additional marketers of Mole Detective who did not agree to settle, the statement explains.

According to the FTC’s complaints, each of the apps instructed users to photograph a mole with a smartphone camera and input other information about the mole. The apps then purported to calculate the mole’s melanoma risk as low, medium, or high. The FTC alleged that the marketers deceptively claimed the apps accurately analyzed melanoma risk and could assess such risk in early stages. The marketers lacked adequate evidence to support such claims, the FTC charged.

“Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace,” says Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”