Google boots Cheetah Mobile, Kika apps after fraud allegations

Google found certain codes within the said apps that were used to execute ad fraud techniques known as click injection or clock flooding

While Google has always welcomed competition, diversity, and choice in the world-dominant Android ecosystem the search giant established around a decade ago, finding a solid Play Store alternative (outside of China) is still virtually impossible for users interested in both quality apps and mobile security.

CM File Manager and Kika Keyboard together have over 250 million downloads on the Play Store, which indicates that the revenue pocketed illegally by the two apps must be huge.

BuzzFeed based its claims on evidence, including videos captured by the analysts Kochava, that Kika Tech and Cheetah Mobile incorporated code allowing for click fraud in their apps. BuzzFeed asserts that the two companies may have made "millions of dollars" as a result of this form of ad-fraud.

In addition, the company said it had also temporarily removed two other apps, Battery Doctor and CM Locker, because aspects of those applications were "obsolete and would require some time to update". A report last week claimed that Cheetah Mobile and an associated company called Kika Tech were engaged in some shady advertising practices, and now Google has responded.

"In response, Cheetah Mobile said-" The Company takes the current matter very seriously and is in continuous communication with Google Play to resolve any issues that may arise". These "bounties", said to be in the range of 50 cents (Rs 35 approx.) to $3 (Rs 215 approx.), in order to promote app installations. Google noted in a statement to Buzzfeed News that it expects to take further actions against the developers.

Though the two companies can appeal the decision by Google, the two companies are now also been removed from its AdMob mobile advertising network.

Cheetah Mobile in a press release has put the blame on third-party SDK developers who use the former's platform and have no control over it.

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. Give us your thoughts in the comments!



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