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16 Mar 10:00 GMT / 06:00 EST

The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Google bans 600 apps from Play Store in ‘disruptive advertising’ purge

The play from the internet giant shows it is adopting an increasingly aggressive stance against bad advertising practices

Google has purged 600 apps from its Play Store which were found to employ "disruptive advertising".

The play from the internet giant shows it is adopting an increasingly aggressive stance against bad advertising practices as it enacts broader reforms to improve its public image. Google's latest purge follows on from a crackdown on overbearing formats and intrusive devices, such as full-screen mobile ads and obstacles designed to frustrate the user in closing ads down.

Thus far such cleanup operations have been reliant on reports from users but a new machine learning system is allowing Google to be more proactive for the first time.

Outlining the clear-out in a blog post Per Bjorke, senior product manager for ad traffic quality, wrote: “We recently developed an innovative machine-learning based approach to detect when apps show out-of-context ads, which led to the enforcement we’re announcing today.

“We define disruptive ads as ads that are displayed to users in unexpected ways, including impairing or interfering with the usability of device functions.

"While they can occur in-app, one form of disruptive ads we’ve seen on the rise is something we call out-of-context ads, which is when malicious developers serve ads on a mobile device when the user is not active in their app."

Google has previously taken steps to enhance consumer privacy by banning ad blockers.

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