Parents are outraged after their children were forced to view offensive ads as they played what they thought were harmless puzzle game apps.
The ads were promoting products for e-commerce platform Wish.com on popular game apps like Crazy Cake Swap and 2040.
One bizarre ad shows a penis extender strap, while another displays a woman with an unzipped cat suit where her butt is partially exposed.
UK ad watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has reprimanded US e-commerce site Wish.com (pictured) for running offensive ads in video games played by children
UK ad watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has contacted Wish.com about the ads, but the firm has yet to respond or remove the ads.
It’s the third time in five months that Wish.com has breached ASA rules and, in each case, the firm has failed to respond, according to BBC.
The ASA told Wish.com that it behaved ‘irresponsibly’ and has to prevent inappropriate ads from appearing in front of younger age groups in the future.
‘We considered that given the content of the apps, they were likely to have a broad appeal to all ages including children,’ the ASA said in a ruling.
‘The ad must not appear again in an untargeted medium’.
One of the ads showed a cartoon image of a penis, as well as a cartoon of the strap being applied to the penis.
The ad was for a £21 ($29) penis enlarger device.
User reports said the image showed up in Zynga’s Crazy Cake Swap game and Ketchapp’s 2048 game.
One of the Wish ads showed a cartoon image of a penis, as well as a cartoon of the strap being applied to the penis. Users said it appeared in popular games Crazy Cake Swap and 2048
The apps have a Pan European Game Information (PEGI) rating of 3, which means the games are suitable for all age groups.
Zynga has yet to respond to the complaints, while Ketchapp said it didn’t believe it should be responsible for ads that appear in its games.
However, Ketchapp said it has increased the age rating of its games in response to the ASA report.
In another bizarre case, the ASA reprimanded Wish.com after it featured an ad for a ‘red and bloody’ temporary tattoo.
The ad was shown in Simon’s Cat Crunch, which has an age rating of 12 years or older on the App Store.
Wish.com and Zynga have yet to respond to the ASA’s complaints about the offensive ads. Ketchapp has said it will raise the recommended age group on its 2048 game
The ASA said children who had seen it might have been distressed, BBC noted.
Other offensive ads from Wish.com have been displayed on Facebook.
One featured a baby wearing ripped shorts and exposing part of its butt ‘for no reason,’ the ASA said.
The ad appeared alongside an ad of a woman wearing an unzipped cat suit and showing a portion of her butt.
Google has also been forced to crack down on offensive apps appearing in children’s games.
WHAT IS ‘ADULTSWINE’ MALWARE?
‘AdultSwine’ is a malware that hides inside game apps that Google Play data says have been downloaded 3 to 7 million times, according to security firm Check Point.
The malware was first identified earlier this year.
The virus also sought to trick users into installing fake security apps, and could open the door for other attacks such as theft of user credentials, Check Point said.
Google took down 60 gaming applications after security firm Check Point said it had discovered new malicious software in the apps available to both children and adults at Google Play Store.
‘We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them,’ a Google spokesperson said.
The apps weren’t part of the family collection, which is based on a program to help parents discover age-appropriate content on the Play Store.
The company clarified that the inappropriate ads within the apps were not Google ads.
Earlier this year, the tech giant was forced to remove 60 Android games after security firm Check Point said it discovered malicious software in the apps.
The malicious software showed pornographic ads and tried to trick users into buying premium services.
Dubbed ‘AdultSwine’, the malware hides inside game apps that Google Play data says have been downloaded 3 to 7 million times.
The malware also sought to trick users into installing fake security apps, and could open the door for other attacks such as theft of user credentials, Check Point said.
It said games and apps intended for children were a new target for cyber criminals that targeted hospitals, businesses and governments in the past.