Google has announced that they have removed nearly 600 apps from the Play Store since they were violating its disruptive ads and disallowed interstitial policies. This is a part of an ongoing effort to stop these apps from entering the Play Store and reaching smartphones and tablets and dealing with mobile ad fraud which Google labels as “an industry-wide challenge harming users and advertisers”.
BuzzFeed News reported that most of these apps targeted English-speaking users but originated from Asia. According to Google’s senior product manager for ad traffic quality, Per Bjorke, there has been nearly 4.5 billion installations of these malicious apps. Bjorke, however, did not name the apps or its developers.
According to the PCMag report, Cheetah Mobile, which is a publicly-traded company, had 45 apps removed from the Play Store. The company is also no longer listed on Google’s ad network.
The Google blog post stated that developers behind all these malicious apps will get banned from both AdMob and Ad Manager.
Google mentioned that many developers “took similar action to deliver the ads” but the company is not sure if this was a coordinated effort to trick the system.
The Mountain View-based company describes these disruptive ads as “displayed to users in unexpected ways that impair or interfere with usability”. Disruptive ads appear in-app but they can also surface while users are on another app. Google warns that “full-screen pop-ups could get delivered while trying to make a call or follow turn-by-turn navigation”.