Pashto Afghan news app taken down by Google

Houston: Internet giant has removed a app created by Taliban militants over hate speech concerns.

The Application called “Pashto Afghan News – Alemara,” that was initially accepted on the Play store, reportedly featured videos and statements from the group’s main website.

The app, which allowed users to access the group’s Pashto website, is part of a growing digital campaign by the Taliban to grow its audience.

“We don’t allow apps that advocate against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” a Google spokesperson said.

The company removed an app created by the Taliban from its Play Store on Saturday. The app was reportedly published to Google Play on April 1, 2016, a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Google confirmed the app had been removed but, in a statement provided media, declined to comment further on the app in question.

While we don’t comment on specific apps, we can confirm that 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, it said.

Google’s developer policy for the Play Store prohibits apps that promote hate speech, violence and illegal activities.

The app’s existence was first reported by SITE, an organisation that tracks the online activity of terrorist organisations.

A Taliban spokesperson confirmed that the app, written in the Pashto language, was created by the organisation. It reportedly contained videos and other messages from group.

Google implemented a review process for Android developers last year, requiring that apps go through an approval process prior to making their way to the Play Store.

Though the review process relies on a team of human editors, not just algorithms, apps are typically approved within a few hours (compared with Apple’s App Store, which can take several days or weeks), so it is possible that some apps may still slip through the cracks.

This is far from the first time Google has removed an app for violating its policies. The company removed two apps that simulated bombing Gaza in 2014. And last year the company removed several apps with Confederate flag imagery.

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