Google pulls Taliban app from Play Store

Despite implementing a stricter app review process last year, Google still has some work to do when it comes to its developer policies. 

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

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A spokesperson for Google confirmed the app had been removed but, in a statement provided to Mashable, 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

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 organization that tracks the online activity of terrorist organizations. 

A Taliban spokesperson confirmed to Bloomberg that the app, written in the Pashto language, was created by the organization. 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. (Previously, individual apps were often only reviewed if they were reported, or otherwise brought to Google’s attention after being published 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’s 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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