Google has removed an app created by the Taliban from the Google Play Store because it promoted hate speech, according to a BBC report.
Alemarah was a Pashto-language app that contained official videos, statements, and other content from the Islamist group (ISIS), the terrorist faction that has been waging war in Afghanistan and recruiting new followers since it was ousted from power back in 2001.
Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the app was meant to be a “part of our advanced technological efforts to make a more global audience.”
It was the SITE Intel Group, a U.S. organization that keeps a vigilant eye on jihadist social media, which first reported the app’s listing on the Google Play Store this past Friday.
When Alemarah was no longer listed on the store a day later, Mujahed told Bloomberg that it was taken down because it needed some “technical issues” to be fixed.
However, the BBC reported on Monday morning that the app had disappeared because it was removed by Google. Even though Google has yet to comment on the app and its removal, the BBC said it was had to be taken down as it violated the company’s policy on hate speech.
The search giant said in a statement to the BBC that apps are removed from Google Play when they violate the policies that are meant to “provide a great experience for users and developers.”
In an attempt to reach wider audiences and more diverse demographics, the Taliban has sought a way to expand its propaganda operations on various web platforms but mostly on social media.
The official website of the Islamist group has been translated into five languages, including Arabic and English, and it regularly updates is Facebook and Twitter account with news.
This involvement in the online world is an unexpected move for the Taliban, which is known for having shunned modern technology and the benefits it brought when they were at the helm of Afghanistan.
In the meantime, ISIS and other jihadist groups have seen social media for what it is: a valuable tool that helps them recruit people for their cause.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, CA last year, European and American officials called on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to monitor potential terrorist activity and combat extremist propaganda.
Image Source: No Aligned Media