Koo is India’s Answer to Twitter however it Must Ensure it Doesn’t Become a Clone of Parler.
Koo is a micro-blogging platform that was launched by a Bengaluru-based startup co-founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna, who is also its CEO, and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. It was launched in March 2020. But after many politicians and celebs joining it, it is now being seen as an Indian alternative on Twitter. Like Twitter, Koo is used to expressing thoughts and opinions on various topics. Users can follow each other, take surveys and share photos, audio, video on Koo as they do on Twitter. The Koo app also has DMs like Twitter so that users can chat with each other. Koo has seen over 1 lakh daily downloads in the last 48 hours and now expanded its user base to around 3 million, or 30 lakh.
While Koo, at first sight, may come across as another attempt like Tooter, which called itself a “swadeshi social network”, what’s different with Koo is that it was recognized in a prestigious competition held by the Indian government under the Made-In-India rubric in August 2020. Probably because of that, ministers and government bodies are already making a beeline to join the new app in town. It is also difficult to lose sight of the fact that Koo is gaining popularity on Twitter in India amid an ideological debate going on in India.
Amid the ongoing tussle between the government and microblogging platform, Twitter over-blocking of content and accounts related to farmers’ protest, Union Ministers and government departments are also setting up accounts on Koo, a Made-in-India alternative to Twitter.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday announced on Twitter, “I am now on Koo. Connect with me on this Indian micro-blogging platform for real-time, exciting, and exclusive updates. Let us exchange our thoughts and ideas on Koo.”
Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad already has a verified handle on Koo, and so do the departments he handles, including Telecom, IT, India Post. Other government departments such as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, and MyGovIndia, are also present on Koo.
“Hello Friends, I am now on Koo. Connect with me on this Indian micro-blogging platform. Let us exchange our thoughts and ideas on Koo,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also tweeted.
The move by various ministers, officials, and government departments to Koo follows a recent government notice to Twitter over non-compliance with an order on removal of content related to ‘farmer genocide’. In total, the Centre has asked Twitter to remove over 1,400 accounts related to farmer protests, the majority of which it suspects to be linked to Khalistan sympathizers or backed by Pakistan.
Twitter, however, on Tuesday said it had reached out to Mr. Prasad for a formal dialogue and had communicated an acknowledgment to the receipt of the non-compliance notice to the government.
The Koo app won the second Aatmanirbhar App Challenge after Chingari was organized by the Indian government in August 2020. The social media platform was developed by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka in March 2020. It started in Kannada and has since expanded to include Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu. Koo offers an immersive language experience. If you type in English, it can translate the Koo into Hindi if that is your preferred language. The platform recently raised $4.1 million from a clutch of investors, including an entity backed by former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures, and Dream Incubator.
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