Google’s reputation for lax security when it comes to the Play store took another hit over the weekend. It turns out that a Taliban developed app managed to find its way onto the Play store for several hours before being taken down.
The Pashto language app is part of the militant group’s efforts to reach a global audience. It includes official statements and videos from the group that has been waging an insurgency war against the US since 2001. A website written in five different languages was also developed to assist the Taliban in recruiting new members.
The Taliban are not deterred by the removal of the app from the Play store. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed says that it was the Taliban themselves who removed the app to fix some “technical issues” and that it will be available again soon.
Modern terrorist groups have been quick to adopt technology as part of their recruitment repertoire. The internet – social media in particular – has allowed these groups access to a much larger audience than it would usually have.
Social media and internet companies have been criticised for not doing enough to counter the spread of terrorist propaganda, although these companies might as well be engaging in a game of whack-a-mole against the terrorists who simply create a new account whenever the old one is banned.