Google bans DO Global app developer with over half a million downloads from Play Store for committing ad fraud

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 27 Apr 2019
Google bans DO Global app developer with over half a million downloads from Play Store for committing ad fraud
  • Google removes Do Global app developer from the Play Store.
  • The developer reportedly had 100 apps on the Play Store.
  • Its apps are said to have commited ad fraud and violated Play Store policies.

Google has been quite active recently in terms of removing fake and harmful apps, along with shoddy reviews from the Play Store. Now, the company has reportedly booted one of the biggest developers from the official app sharing platform, Do Global, whose apps are said to have over 250 million monthly active users. This happened when Buzzfeed and Checkpoint found out last week that six of its apps conducted ad fraud by employing malware called ‘PreAMo,’ which makes it seem like a user is repeatedly clicking on ads and banners within an app, even when the app is not running. 


As per a blog post by Checkpoint security, the total download count of these six apps are said to be over 90 million. Google was notified about them and the company removed them from the Google Play Store. However, Buzzfeed reports that Google didn’t stop at these six apps as it removed 46 additional apps developed by Do Global from the Play Store. Also, the company’s apps are said to be unable to access Google’s AdMob network either, meaning no more marketing of its products via Google’s massive mobile advertising platform. Google is said to be banning the developer completely and its remaining apps could soon be booted from the Play Store.

As per the report, the Chinese giant Baidu has 34 stake in percent Do Global, which has about 100 apps on the Play Store with over 600 million overall installs. The developer is said to have over 250 million monthly active users of its apps with reach of about 800 million users through its ad platform. Alongside fraudulent ad activities, some of the company’s apps were listed on the Play Store with generic developer names like “Pic Tools Group” and "Photo Artist Studio," and are said to host their privacy policy on Tumblr, effectively hiding the fact that they are developed by Do Global. This is also a violation of Play STore Policy to conceal ownership information. 

After the initial removal of six apps from the Play Store, Google removed 40 other apps by the developer this week. 20 of these apps are said to be using the Do Global Games developer name, while 14 were listed under Applecheer Studio. These apps are also stated to use varying contact information and addresses on the Play Store, which makes it difficult for an average user to ascertain these are developed by the same major developer. 


Google also recently removed 29 ‘Beauty Camera’ apps that used to collect the data, especially pictures, of the users who them installed on their phones. While some of these apps used to send pornographic content to users, others redirected them to phishing websites. Japanese IT security company Trend Micro says that some of these apps have millions of downloads, and a large number of the downloads originated from Asia - particularly India. You can read more about this here. 


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