On Friday, a watchdog group on the lookout for jihadist activity online, SITE Intel Group, spotted an app run by the Taliban on Google Play.
For those curious how the app could have existed in the first place on a public store run by Google, you aren’t alone. However, Google is staying mum. A spokesperson for the company refused to comment on specific apps but made it clear that the tech giant has the authority to take any app off Google Play that violates its rules and guidelines.
The app was called “Alemarah” and it kept those who dowloaded it up to date with the latest Taliban news, videos by the terror group and other updates in the Pashto language.
The Taliban has other ways to get its message out to supporters. It has a Twitter account, in which an official spokesman sends updates about Taliban activity. And it has an active channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.
In recent years, ISIS has proven itself adept at using social media and the Internet, leaving the Taliban to play catch-up.
This is the latest in a long line of moves by tech giants to combat terrorists online. Most of the focus up to now has been on ISIS, which has revolutionized Islamic radicalization by launching a sophisticated digital operation.
Leading the charge in this fight against ISIS online has been Anonymous which has recruited hackers to take out jihadist properties and also pressured social media networks such as Twitter to take action; which they have, deleting hundreds of thousands of accounts.
Will the Taliban become the same sort of online force that ISIS has become? Sound off in the comments below!