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Google bans official Taliban Android app over “hate” speech

Most of us use the Play Store to find the zillionth Angry Birds sequel, but not all apps are so pleasant.

Google has removed a Taliban app from the Play Store, the main app store for Android phones and tablets.

The app was called “Pashto Afghan News – alemarah”, and was built by the Taliban to spread propaganda. It was first noticed by the SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based organisation that monitors jihadi presence online.

News reports, statements, and videos all directly produced by the Taliban were available on the app, some of which describe the American military as “crusaders”.

A Bloomberg report says that the app was removed by Google for “hate” speech. In Google’s Play Program Policies, the company writes the following under ‘Hate Speech’:

“We don’t allow the promotion of hatred toward groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.”

In a statement to the Telegraph, Google said: “While we don’t comment on specific apps, our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers. That’s why we remove apps from Google Play that violate these policies.”

Related: Best Android Apps 2016

The Taliban is a political movement in Afghanistan based on Islamic fundamentalism, and is currently engaged in a holy war in the nation. The group has been criticised for its strict enforcement of Islamic Sharia law, which has resulted in the inhumane treatment of Afghans.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said that the app “is part of our advanced technological efforts to make a more global audience”.

Do you think Google was right to remove the app? Let us know in the comments.

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