INDIA: The Koo app, an alternative or the Indian version of Twitter, has lately been in the limelight with regards to the standoff between the Indian government and Twitter over the suspension of accounts linked to the farmer protests. The center’s notice to the microblogging site claimed that these accounts were backed by Khalistan sympathizers or Pakistan.
Koo is a micro-blogging platform with a format just like Twitter. The app is a ‘home-grown app’ that allows people to post in their language. However, you can only choose one language. The social network currently supports English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, and Gujarati.
Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka, the co-founders for Koo, started developing the app in November 2020. They intended to give voice to the Indian language speakers on the internet. The duo was also one of the winners of the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge’. Soon, the app gained traction with some MPs (Member of Parliament), cricketers, and politicians.
However, in the last few days, the Koo app has gained some prominent followers from certain quarters in the government including Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, and a clutch of government departments like the IT ministry, NITI Aayog, and India Post.
This stance has led to a surge in the downloads of the app in the last 30-40 days. Although Twitter has slightly changed their stance, the tussle is on-going. Hence the government support of the Indian alternative is palpable.
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Talking about the Koo app, founder Radhakrishna said, “We started way before anything of this sort was discussed. It is not an us vs Twitter approach.” She emphasized that Koo was a unique space to go deep into India with languages. Along with this, their focus is to solve language issues for the Indian citizens.
Regarding the policies of the app, Radhakrishna said that Koo is a free expression platform and exceptions would be made in case of threat to life or threat of mob violence. She added that posts should not cause any harm to someone’s life, and to ensure that aspect, they would abide by the law of the land.