Update - 9/19/14: In response to the removal of the app from the Google Play store, Al Manar posted a statement attributing the removal to a “campaign by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League” and promised to find “alternative ways to provide the application for Android phones.”
Update - 9/13/14: ADL alerted Google to the re-launched app on September 12. The app was removed from Google play later that day. ADL applauds Google's response to Al-Manar's repeated attempts to re-introduce this app.
Last week, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm which is listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. government, launched an Android phone app through the Google Play online store providing mobile access to its satellite television station, also known as al-Manar.
Al-Manar advertised the launch of the app on the landing page of its website. The announcement asked media network followers to install the app on their phones to receive al-Manar content and news, including high priority alerts.
This is the third time Hezbollah has launched an app with that function; the two prior apps were removed from Google Play. In July 2012, Al Manar first advertised its newly-launched application providing mobile access to its satellite TV. Available originally through Apple’s iTunes service, Apple soon removed the app for violating its terms of service. After the app was removed from iTunes, Hezbollah tried to re-launch it again for Android phones only, but the app was soon removed from Google Play as well. In March 2014 free mobile applications appeared on iTunes and Google Play to provide access to Al Manar programs via iPhone and Android smartphones once more.
Hezbollah has attempted to use mobile apps in other contexts as well. In June 2014, Al Manar TVlaunched an online competition in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that used the California-based instant messaging service WhatsApp.The competition called on users to submit predictions for which teams would win and offered prizes for selecting the winning teams. In January 2014, Al Manar started using WhatsAppto deliver “breaking news” via text messages to subscribers and to allow its supporters to interact with the station. In February 2013, the military branch of Hezbollah, The Islamic Resistance (“Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”) provided a collection of free Farsi and Arabic language podcasts on iTunes. The podcasts promoted both the terrorist group’s and the Iranian regime’s militant propaganda.
Continuous attempts by the terrorist group to re-launch their smart phone app demonstrate their determination to exploit modern technology to broadcast messages of hate and terrorism to their supporters worldwide.