In the past few years, Google, despite taking stringent measure to screen malicious apps creeping into the Play, has been unable to control them. Now, the company in a massive cleanup drive has removed millions of fake reviews and thousands of bad apps.
Recently, Google received complaints from concerned app developers that the Play store rating systems are being rigged with fake reviews affecting their rankings, which apparently driving the consumers away.
Taking the cognisance of the issue, Google studied the pattern and found several targeted false reviews, the presence of profane language to downgrade an app and also incentivised (paid) top ratings to boosting rankings of the app.
During the screen, the company unearthed thousands of shady apps with malicious features and has removed them in addition to weeding out millions of fake reviews from the Play store in just one week.
"In 2018, the Google Play Trust & Safety teams deployed a system that combines human intelligence with machine learning to detect and enforce policy violations in ratings and reviews. A team of engineers and analysts closely monitor and study suspicious activities in Play's ratings and reviews, and improve the model's precision and recall on a regular basis. We also regularly ask skilled reviewers to check the decisions made by our models for quality assurance" Android Developer team said in a statement.
The company has also urged Android app developers not to indulge in shady review tactics by offering incentives such as free in-app purchases or gifts to lure their users to write fake ratings or else risk getting banned from Play store.
Over the last one month, Google has weeded out close to 35 apps from the Play store over fake ads. Detailed investigations revealed that the apps were riddled with malicious codes to create fake click impressions via users to generate ad revenue. Also, some were found to steal financial information from the Android phone.
There were just two of the techniques, app developers had several other methods and did them without obtaining the user consent.
It's high time, Google scales up the security to ensure shady apps don't enter Play store.