Despite having a strict app review process in place, Google had to pull down Taliban app within 2 days from the Play Store stating that the app violated its policy on hate speech.
The app, named Alemarah, reportedly uploaded by the hard-line Afgan extremist group provided access to videos and official press releases translated into the Pashto language.
Launched on April 1, the US-based SITE Intel Group, which keeps track of the online activities of terrorist organizations, reported the presence of the app, touted to cause severe damages to peace and harmony.
Meanwhile, an official Taliban spokesperson told Bloomberg that the app has been removed because of technical glitches and will be uploaded again after rectification.
Even though Google confirmed that that app has been removed from Play Store, the company declined to provide the actual specifics behind the removal of the app.
In a statement, Google disclosed that they don’t comment on specific apps but confirmed that the policies are designed and put in place to provide an intuitive experience for both users and developers. Those apps which violate the policies will be removed and the required notification mailed to the relevant developer who uploaded the app.
If you look at Google’s developer policy for the Play Store, it clearly states that apps which promote hate speech, violence, and illegal activities are prohibited.
In 2015, Google refreshed the app review process in such a way that the relevant app should go through the mandatory approval process via human editors prior to making their way to the Play Store.
Since the Taliban app has cracked this whip, it remains to be seen what action Google initiates with the reviewer who initially reviewed the app.
Previously, Google was forced to remove two apps that simulated bombing Gaza in 2014 and more recently several apps were deleted which featured Confederate flag imagery.