Tags: google play | taliban | app

Google Play: Taliban App Removed Shortly After Debut

Google Play: Taliban App Removed Shortly After Debut
In this picture taken on September 26, 2008, Fighters with Afghanistan's Taliban militia stand on a hillside at Maydan Shahr in Wardak province, west of Kabul. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 April 2016 04:17 PM

A mobile app created by the Taliban militant group has been removed from the Google Play Store shortly after launching there last week.

Afghanistan’s Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told Bloomberg that the Pashto-language app "is part of our advanced technological efforts to make more global audience."

The app, launched on April 1 and removed Saturday, included content such as official statements and videos from the Taliban. Mujahed told Bloomberg that the app would return after "technical issues" were fixed, however the BBC reported that the app was removed because it violated a Google app policy against hate speech.

Digital Trends said the app "was no April Fools’ joke" despite its launch date. It was called “Pashto Afghan News – alemarah.”

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the app specifically but said, "Our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers. That’s why we remove apps from Google Play that violate those policies."

Business Insider explained that “the fact that the app went up in the first place demonstrated an issue with the company's app review process and the difficulty of balancing speed and security.”

Google changed its submission process in March 2015, introducing algorithms and a team of reviewers to check for policy violations, Business Insider noted.

The Taliban has a channel on the messaging service Telegram and operates a website in five languages, The Guardian reported.

Tore Hamming, a militant Islamism researcher at the European University Institute, told The Guardian that the Taliban app could have been indicative of the group’s rivalry with the Islamic State terrorist group, known as ISIS or ISIL.

“That the app was launched in Pashto indicates that the local Pashtun population is the main audience and it could thus be perceived as an attempt to bolster its support in eastern Afghanistan where IS – especially in Nangarhar and Paktika – is pushing for control,” Hamming said.

Social media accounts and websites run by Taliban guerrillas are routinely taken down by technology companies, The Telegraph noted.

Among a variety of efforts to fight terrorism online, Twitter has suspended more than 125,000 accounts associated with terrorism, the news site reported. Facebook has a team to police terrorist material, and Google displays anti-terrorist ads against searches for extremist information.

Twitter users reacted strongly to the app.







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TheWire
A mobile app created by the Taliban militant group has been removed from the Google Play Store shortly after launching there last week.
google play, taliban, app
459
2016-17-06
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 04:17 PM
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