Alemarah, an app for Android smartphones created by radical fundamentalist group the Taliban, has been removed from Google’s Play Store.
Although Google has implemented a stricter app review process last year, the release of the app clearly shows that the company has still some work to do when it comes to its developer policies.
The app, reportedly published on April 1, 2016, was removed from the Play Store on Saturday as it seemed to have been flouting Google’s app store policies. However, Google has declined to comment on the specific app but in a statement told Mashable that apps are booted out from the Play Store only if they promote usage which are in contrast to the set policies for the app store.
The Taliban has confirmed in an interview to Bloomberg that the app was being used to increase its global audience. The app “is part of our advanced technological efforts to make more global audience,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said.
The app, which was released in the Pashto language app, includes content such as official statements and videos from the Taliban. Mujahed also said that the would reappear soon on the Play Store and cited techincal issues for its disappearance.
Earlier, Google had implemented a review process which required apps to go through an approval process prior to making their way to the Play Store. Prior to that, individual apps were often only reviewed if they were reported, or otherwise brought to Google’s attention after being published to the Play Store.
Although Google relies on human editors for reviewing apps and not just algorithms, they are approved within a few hours in contrast to Apple’s App Store, which can take several days or weeks, so it’s possible that some apps may still slip through the cracks. Google had earlier removed two apps that simulated bombing Gaza in 2014.