After the findings were brought to Google's attention, two of the fraudulent apps were scrutinized and have now been removed from the Play Store.
Cheetah Mobile, which supplies the successful apps Clean Master, Security Master and Battery Doctor, is now embroiled in a scandal initiated by an investigative report on BuzzFeed News.
If you were, for some reason, hoping to download CM File Manager or Kika Keyboard, I have some bad news. Seven of these apps are from Cheetah Mobile, a Chinese Internet company, while the other one has been developed by Kika Tech, another Chinese firm.
The Beijing-based company, a top mobile internet provider in China, said this morning that its CM File Manager app had been temporarily suspended by Google Play. Cheetah Mobile also voluntarily removed its Battery Doctor and CM Locker apps from the Play Store following the initial report.
But claims were not related to ad fraud.
According to Buzzfeed News, both Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech rigged the attribution system, so that app bounties would be transferred to them, even if they did not run the ad, or have another contribution with the installation process. However, Google has found that the Cheetah Mobile is guilty of being deceptive in its operation. "If an app violates our policies, we take action", Google told the publication.
Drops: Learn 31 new languages topped the list in the Best App of 2018 category, with over one million downloads. "We take these allegations very seriously and our Google Play Developer policies prohibit deceptive and malicious behavior on our platform".
On the other hand, Kika Tech has vehemently denied any wrongdoings and claims Kochava's report is false as there is no substantial evidence of ad fraud. At the same time, Cheetah also said it had initiated a series of steps aimed at countering the effect of the allegations, including the creation of a Business Integrity Committee to be chaired by its chief financial officer.
The Google spokesperson also added that the rest of the suspicious apps are now under the scanner and if they too are found engaged in such schemes, necessary action will be taken.