31 May 2019
Google investigated the apps available on Play Store in order to know which apps are exploiting the rules. It was found that apps from Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese Internet company and Kika tech, another Chinese firm have been exploiting the user permissions to steal “millions of dollars.” Google has reportedly confirmed that it has removed two of the apps from the list- CM File Manager and Kika Keyboard.
Google has reportedly told Buzzfeed News that these two apps contain codes that can execute ad fraud techniques like click injection and click flooding. Google said to the outlet,
“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."
It should be noted that Battery doctor and CM Launcher apps were also removed by Cheetah mobile last week
The report takes references from the app analytics firm AppBrain and tells the two removed apps had more than 250 million downloads. The Kika Keyboard is the top keyboard app in the Play store, and Cheetah Mobile is one of the biggest developers of apps in the entire Android ecosystem.
Cheetah Mobile issued a press release on Tuesday, the day after its app was removed. The company wanted to reassure investors that the removal of CM File Manager would not affect its revenue. Cheetah Mobile, however, initially shifted blame to the third-party software development kits (SDKs) installed on its apps. After declines in its stock price, the company issued another press release stating it “has neither the intention nor ability to direct such advertising platforms to engage in the alleged ‘click injections.’
Google states that the investigation is still underway and it will take additional action. Meanwhile, it’s highly recommended that users should avoid downloading other apps from Cheetah Mobile.