Android Apps With More Than 2 Billion Total Downloads Are Committing Ad Fraud

Craig Silverman, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

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?)

Monday, 26 November 2018