Google removes 2 popular Android apps that enabled click fraud

Ruben Fields
December 5, 2018

"We take these allegations very seriously and our Google Play Developer policies prohibit deceptive and malicious behaviour on our platform".

The company found that these two apps contained code which can be used to execute ad fraud through various techniques.

Though the two companies can appeal the decision by Google, the two companies are now also been removed from its AdMob mobile advertising network. "If an app violates our policies, we take action", it said in a statement.

Cheetah Mobile, which supplies the successful apps Clean Master, Security Master and Battery Doctor, is now embroiled in a scandal initiated by an investigative report on BuzzFeed News. Seven of these apps are from Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese Internet company, while the other one has been developed by Kika Tech, another Chinese firm. The apps would apparently detect new app installations on a user's device and claim the credit for driving said installations.

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Google took action in response to these findings, ultimately suspending the apps CM File Manager and Kika Keyboard, which are associated with about 250 million downloads, from the Play Store.

Cheetah also admitted that it "proactively" removed two advertising SDKs from its apps.

CM Manager isn't the only Cheetah app removed from the Play Store either, as Battery Doctor and CM Launcher were apparently removed in the wake of the original story.

Impact: If you're often browsing through the Play Store, chances are you're more than familiar with most of these apps, movies, games, TV shows, ebooks, and audiobooks, depending on what you're into, but if you're not, you can always navigate to the provided link, and try out any of the content Google mentioned.

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