Adware... On a Mac?!

4 March 2015, 03:55

Like many people I installed Go for Facebook, an app from Fiplab that provides quick access to Facebook from the menu bar. It’s advertised in the App Store as being “FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME!!”.

Unfortunately, I booted my Mac just now and saw a pop-up notification advert appear at the right of the screen for another Fiplab product. I’m not 100% sure that Go for Facebook is adware — another app could’ve caused the notification to appear — but let’s be honest: it’s unlikely. I wasn’t using the app at the time, although it was running in the background as a menubar process.

I didn’t agree to ads, and if I did it was hidden in a licensing agreement. If I want that kind of crap I’ll use Windows.

I’ve now uninstalled Go for Facebook. I advise you to too. In fact, I used App Zapper to ensure that every aspect of it was removed. I also removed all other Fiplab apps on my system. This is an extensive list of apps and many have been recommended by influential sources. The list includes:

  • Disk Doctor
  • Duplicate Detective
  • Disk Map
  • Memory Clean
  • CopyClip 2
  • InstaReel for Instagram
  • MailTab for Gmail (and Outlook)
  • MenuTab for Facebook
  • NotesTab
  • StatsBar
  • Battery Health
  • Share Bucket
  • Privacy Protector
  • RSS Bot
  • StockTab
  • Alerts for Gmail
  • Download Shuttle
  • London Cycle: Maps & Routes
  • CopterKid
  • Magic Math
  • Exporter for Address Book
  • Translation
  • Converto
  • Owly
  • CopyClip

Not cool, Fiplab. Not cool. I’ve contacted them for comment. If I get anything I’ll post an update here.

UPDATE: No response from Fiplab. In the meantime you might want to use the free-of-charge Adware Medic to scan your system.

Know better?

“I didn’t agree to ads, and if I did it was hidden in a licensing agreement. If I want that kind of crap I’ll use Windows.”

I don’t agree or like the fact that it happens, regardless of platform. Ethically questionable practices and dark patterns aren’t limited to the realm of Windows apps or developers. As you’ve noticed yourself, Mac developers are capable of the same thing. There’s no inherent prohibition or rule against it. It’s an unstated social expectation (to stop short of using the term “social contract”) between app developers and users on the Mac platform, but the same truths exist on the iOS platform as well.

Hugo · Mar 4, 08:55 AM · #

Fiplab sell generic rebadged software.I’m not surprised.

— tony wadhwa · Oct 30, 07:19 AM · #

I have had the same problem with Fiplab apps.
They started with a strategy to maximise earnings by hiring cheap developers who used generic code. They built a formidable brand image (virtual offices in mayfair, flashy website etc) but the code at best is basic. Now as their earnings have gone up (net assets £1m !) they are redoing their apps with more expensive developers. Alot of developers are selling sophisticated apps as snake oil, be warned!

— Dimitri Joffe · Dec 3, 12:32 PM · #