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Google removes two Cheetah Mobile, Kika apps after ad fraud allegation

Google's internal investigation reportedly found code related to ad fraud techniques within these apps.

Published onDecember 4, 2018

The Cheetah Mobile Play Store page.
  • Google has removed two apps from the Play Store for advertising fraud.
  • The apps in question are CM File Manager and Kika Keyboard.
  • The removal comes after a Buzzfeed story detailed allegations of ad fraud against the developers.

Google has reportedly removed two Cheetah Mobile and Kika apps from the Google Play Store after claims of ad fraud were levelled against the developers.

The search giant removed the CM File Manager and Kika Keyboard apps for “deceptive and malicious behavior,” according to Buzzfeed. The outlet says Google’s internal investigation found that the apps contained code used for ad fraud techniques.

“We take these allegations very seriously and our Google Play Developer policies prohibit deceptive and malicious behavior on our platform. If an app violates our policies, we take action,” a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Cheetah blames third-party SDKs

The news comes a week after Buzzfeed and analytics firm Kochava reported that eight apps from Cheetah Mobile and Kika were engaged in ad fraud. The apps would apparently detect new app installations on a user’s device and claim the credit for driving said installations. This was done in order to claim a bounty or fee for driving installations.

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News of Google taking action makes for a major turn of events, as Cheetah Mobile came out swinging in the immediate wake of the report. The Chinese developer suggested that third party SDKs were to blame for any ad fraud, while also saying it would take legal action against Kochava.

Cheetah also admitted that it “proactively” removed two advertising SDKs from its apps. But news that Google found dodgy code within a Cheetah Mobile app seemingly contradicts the developer’s claims of third-party SDKs being to blame.

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.

Are you surprised that Google removed a Cheetah app? Give us your thoughts in the comments!

NEXT: Verizon and Samsung will debut ‘proof-of-concept’ 5G phone next week

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