Google bans app developer with 600 million downloads for being a fake click factory – The Verge

What happened: Google is banning popular Chinese app developer Do Global, which is partly owned by search giant Baidu and has more than 600 million downloads, from its Play Store after it was found committing ad fraud and abusing app permissions. The company allegedly faked ad clicks to boost revenue. According to researchers, at least six of Do Global’s apps contained code that allowed fake ad clicking that would run even when the apps were closed.

Why it’s important: Nearly half of Do Global’s 100 apps have so far been removed from the Play Store. In addition to abolishing the apps, Google has also moved to stop Do Global profiting from AdMob, the search giant’s mobile advertising platform. Do Global was a subsidiary of Baidu until it was spun off last summer. Baidu now holds a 34% stake in the company. The removals follow similar moves by Google against Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech, which are also Chinese app developers. However, Google did not ban the internet firms entirely, only taking action against the infringing apps.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.