46 DO Global apps have been removed from Google Play following allegations of ad fraud. A Buzzfeed News investigation found that the company (which is partly owned by Chinese Internet company Baidu) was concealing app ownership details and a portion of their apps included code that fraudulently clicked on ads.
"We actively investigate malicious behavior, and when we find violations, we take action, including the removal of a developer’s ability to monetize their app with AdMob or publish on Play," a Google spokesman told Buzzfeed News.
DO Global released a statement on its website relating to this matter:
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.Last week, Buzzfeed News ran an investigation which discovered the issues with DO Global's apps. To start, the apps were concealing that they were related to DO Global and that they were sending user data back home to China. Secondly, a portion of the apps had code which fraudulently clicked on ads — even when the apps weren't being used. Two of these apps contained additional code which could be used to engage in a separate sort of ad fraud. These findings were discovered by security and ad fraud researchers Check Point and Method Media Intelligence.
Although most of the company's apps have been removed from Google Play, DO Global has committed to doing better in the future. It remains to be seen if and when the company will be able to return to doing business on Google Play.
What do you think of the DO Global apps being removed from Google Play? Do you think Google is overreacting in this case or is their response reasonable? Let us know in the comments below!