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Google removes 600 apps from Play Store for violating Ad policy

Google announced that they’ve removed nearly 600 apps from the Android Play Store and also from AdMob as well as other ad monetisation platforms for violating the company’s ad policy and showing intrusive, disruptive ads.

According to the company, these “seemingly innocuous” apps displayed ads — such as interstitial — that hampered the user experience and also the functionality of the devices. The issue isn’t limited to violation of ad policy as Google also found out that scores of the apps that have now been removed were showing ads in the app even when users were not active on the app or the device.

“Mobile ad fraud is an industry-wide challenge that can appear in many different forms with a variety of methods, and it has the potential to harm users, advertisers and publishers,” Google explained in their announcement. “At Google, we have dedicated teams focused on detecting and stopping malicious developers that attempt to defraud the mobile ecosystem.”

Ad formats such as interstitial are not only disruptive to the user experience but can also cause inadvertent clicks on ads, leading to ad fraud as advertisers will be charged for clicks that the user didn’t really mean to click-through.

Google has implemented a machine-learning approach to detect apps that show out-of-context ads that run even when the phone and app are not in use.

“This is an invasive manoeuvre that results in poor user experiences that often disrupt key device functions and this approach can lead to unintentional ad clicks that waste advertiser spend. Malicious developers continue to become savvier in deploying and masking disruptive ads, but we’ve developed new technologies of our own to protect against this behaviour.”

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