Tackling ads abuse in
apps and SDKs
By Dave Kleidermacher, Google VP, Head of Security & Privacy - Android &
users with safe and secure experiences, while helping developers build
and grow quality app businesses, is our top priority at Google Play. And
to improve our protections.
Google Play has been working to minimize app install attribution fraud
for several years. In 2017 Google Play made available the
Google Play Install Referrer
API, which allows
ad attribution providers, publishers and advertisers to determine which
referrer was responsible for sending the user to Google Play for a given
app install. This API was specifically designed to be resistant to
install attribution fraud and we strongly encourage attribution
providers, advertisers and publishers to insist on this standard of
proof when measuring app install ads. Users, developers, advertisers and
ad networks all benefit from a transparent, fair system.
We also take reports of questionable activity very seriously. If an app
Google Play Developer
policies, we take
action. That’s why we began our own independent investigation after we
received reports of apps on Google Play accused of conducting app
install attribution abuse by falsely claiming credit for newly installed
apps to collect the download bounty from that app’s developer.
We now have an update regarding our ongoing investigation:
On Monday, we
removed two apps from the Play Store because our investigation
discovered evidence of app install attribution abuse.
- We also discovered
evidence of app install attribution abuse in 3 ad network SDKs. We
have asked the impacted developers to remove those SDKs from their
apps. Because we believe most of these developers were not aware of
the behavior from these third-party SDKs, we have given them a short
grace period to take action.
- Google Ads SDKs were
not utilized for any of the abusive behaviors mentioned above.
- Our investigation is
ongoing and additional reviews of other apps and third party SDKs
are still underway. If we find evidence of additional policy
violations, we will take action.
We will continue to
investigate and improve our capabilities to better detect and
protect against abusive behavior and the malicious actors behind