[Update: Official statement] Fake clicks kick out one of the biggest Google Play Store developers

Update [April 29, 2019]: In response to the purge that saw 50 of its apps removed from the Play Sore, DO Global has released an official statement acknowledging the allegations and Google’s decision and that it has launched investigations into the matter. The developer also promises to “strictly follow relevant regulations” from now on.

Full statement:

In the past week, we have noticed a series of reports about our apps by the media. We fully understand the seriousness of the allegations. As such, we immediately conducted an internal investigation on this matter. We regret to find irregularities in some of our products’ use of AdMob advertisements. Given this, we fully understand and accept Google’s decision. Moreover, we have actively cooperated with them by doing a thorough examination of every app involved.

We would like to thank the media, our partners, and the public for their support. Moving forward, we will strictly follow relevant regulations and continue conducting a comprehensive review of our products. Lastly, during this process, we have caused misunderstandings and great concern due to our being unable to communicate in a timely manner and provide complete information. We offer our sincere apologies.

The original post follows:

Last week, reports emerged that some of the most popular Google Play Store apps may be sharing data with the Chinese government on purpose and even before the dust settles, it seems the developer of the apps in question has now been kicked out of the Play Store.

Apparently, the search giant is removing all apps developed by DO Global, whose popularity has seen them garner a whopping 600 million downloads in the Play Store.

According to BuzzFeed, Google has already removed 50 apps from the developer after they were found engaging in ad fraud, producing fake clicks even when they are not in use. Another set of 50 apps from the same developer are in the process of being removed and should disappear in the days to come.

DO Global isn’t the first app developer to be kicked out of the Play Store for violation of ground rules. However, what makes this interesting is not only the fact that DO is one of the biggest developers on the app marketplace, but it’s also owned by Baidu, a company that is often described as the Google of China.

For an in-depth analysis of this matter, BuzzFeed has all the details you need to know here. Meanwhile, be sure to give a second thought to installing apps that ask way too many unnecessary permissions.

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Hillary

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