Along with raising serious questions about the business practices
of two prominent Chinese app developers, this highlights the
security, privacy, and ad fraud issues in the Android app
ecosystem and Google Play store. BuzzFeed News provided Google
with videos of the Cheetah and Kika apps captured by Kochava, as
well as with screenshots of relevant app code identified by Method
Media Intelligence. Google initially said it had not confirmed the
presence of fraudulent tactics in the apps, and that it has asked
for additional information from Kika and Cheetah. It told BuzzFeed
News it continues to investigate.
“Google is the curated owner of the Google Play store and the
owner of one of the largest monetization mechanisms for apps. If
there is confusion on where ad fraud and attribution fraud is
taking place in this ecosystem, we’d be happy to help Google in
their efforts,” Simmons said.
Richard Kramer, a senior analyst with Arete, an independent
research firm that covers mobile and technology companies, said
Google needs to remove the affected apps from its Play store.
“Why isn’t Google immediately dropping such apps from the Play
store and advising users to uninstall them?” he told BuzzFeed
News. “It may reduce [ad] inventory in their Network, but I would
expect [Google] to be more sensitive to quality of impressions.”
You would expect that.
(Ticky-tacky art direction complaint: why does the hero shot animation atop this story show an iPhone X, when the story is entirely about Android?)