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Popular Keyboard App, Touchpal, Suspended From Google Play Store

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Touchpal Keyboard

The Android world is one that can quickly get tiring and now a popular app, especially in Kenya, Touchpal adds to that fatigue.

The app has been officially suspended from the Google Play Store alongside its developer’s account, CooTek, albeit temporarily. Reason for this? Research by security analysis company Lookout revealed that 238 apps owned by CooTek come with aggressive adware built into them, a violation against Google Play Store policies.

The adware dubbed BeiTaPlugin triggers ads when users are not actively using their phone or when the device is locked or when the particular apps that carry the adware are not in use. The ads are shown outside of these apps in areas such as the notification panel, lockscreen and even the call screen as some users reported.

The issue of Touchpal and its siblings of apps misbehaving with adware was revealed back in June 2019 and the makers, CooTek issued an official apology which was followed by the reuploading of clean adware-free apps to the Play Store, at least according to the company.

However, BuzzFeedNews later found out that 58 of the new apps still had malicious code in them. CooTek denied these claims, citing that they had reexamined their apps and found no evidence of the claims. Unfortunately for the company, when Google investigated the new claims, they confirmed that indeed there was still malicious code which led to the expulsion of all apps and CooTek’s developer account until further notice.

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This development is of particular interest to the Kenyan market seeing how popular TouchPal is thanks to the app coming pre-installed on TECNO and Infinix smartphones. Could be that all the complains that Infinix users give about numerous ads on their phones could be coming from Touchpal.

Our recommendation is that you either disable TouchPal or uninstall it and get another keyboard, GBoard and Switftkey are our favourites (and no one is paying us to say that).

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