Updated: February 21, 2020 9:46:18 am
Google has removed close to 600 apps from the Play Store and banned their developers for violating its disruptive ads policy. The apps that were banned showed ads to users in unexpected ways or out-of-context, say when the user attempts to make a phone call or unlock their phone, Google explained in a blog post.
Further, the removed apps showed ads on a mobile device when the user is not actually active in their app, something that can result in “poor user experiences” and “disrupt key device functions”.
“We define disruptive ads as ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions,” Google said in its post. The company took advantage of machine learning to detect apps from malicious developers.
According to a BuzzFeed report, which quoted Google’s senior product manager for ad traffic quality Per Bjorke, the removed apps were mainly from developers based in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India with total installs of over 4.5 billion times.
Of the removed apps, around 45 were from China’s Cheetah Mobile. To recall, two of the Cheetah’s apps were removed by Google from the Play Store in December 2018 over malicious and deceptive behaviour. Though the developer was not removed from the platform back then, it has been now been banned by Google, reported Buzzfeed.
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Adware or apps that make money for malicious developers by generating ads are the most common type in India, revealed Venugopal N, Director of Security Engineering at Check Point Software Technologies in interaction with Indianexpress.com.
Earlier this year, Google removed from the Play Store, 17 apps with total downloads of over 550,000, discovered as Riskware by security company Bitdefender. Some of these adds were found to drain the user’s phone’s battery by showing full-screen ads at random intervals.
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