A social media app is draining bank accounts by subscribing users to premium services without their knowledge, it is reported tonight.
Snaptube, which promotes itself as a tool to download videos from YouTube and Facebook, has been downloaded more than 40 million times.
But it is thought to exploit a practice called fleeceware, which is when developers abuse the ability for apps to begin charging users a subscription fee after a trial to test the service.
Google lets third-party developers to charge the credit or debit card saved with your Google account to enable some of the most popular services – like Netflix, for example – to work seamlessly for Android smartphone and tablet owners.
And some Snaptube users have reportedly forgotten they’d signed up for a trial subscription within the apps when they have removed them from their Android smartphones or tablets.
In this case, if the user then may have signedthemselves up to a premium service from the developer.
It is understood Snaptube has already earned some $100 million (£78 million) from this activity.
When confronted about the practice, Mobiuspace – the developer behind SnapTube and a number of other successful apps – claims it was unaware of the issue. Google denies any unwanted charges to customers but has now removed SnapTube from the Play Store.
Of course, dropping SnapTube from the Play Store means new Android smartphones and tablets will not be able to download the app. However, it doesn’t remove the application from those who have already downloaded it.
If you’ve previously downloaded SnapTube – and noticed some unusual charges coming out of your current account – you should launch the Google Play Store app on your handset and tap the menu button in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.
Then head to Subscriptions and find anything associated with SnapTube (or that you don’t recognise) and select it. Tap Cancel subscription and follow the on-screen instructions to ditch the charges from your account.