Published: 10th February 2021
What the FAQ: Everything you need to know about Made In India platform Koo
Officially launched over 10 months ago, Koo is available in a number of regional languages including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and various others
With the farmer’s protests pitting the Indian establishment against social media platform Twitter, it seemed like it would be only a matter of time before an alternative would enter the scene. And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when Union Ministers like Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan tweeted from their accounts that they would henceforth ‘exchange their thoughts and ideas’ on Koo. And what is Koo exactly? Here’s what we were able to find out:
What is Koo?
Koo is an Indian-made micro-blogging platform that was introduced in 2020 by Mayank Bidawatka. A master in business administration, Bidawatka has co-founded a number of other platforms including RedBus, Vokal India and Goodbox. They have said, “Just 10 per cent of India speaks English. Almost 1 billion people in India speak one of the country's 100s of languages. They are now getting access to smartphones and would love an internet in their language.”
Koo is available in a number of regional languages including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and various others. Officially launched over 10 months ago, it was recognised by the central government as one among the Aatmanirbhar Apps.
Why is Koo in the news now?
Following a barrage of tweets from international and national accounts in support of the farmer’s protests. the government issued a notice to Twitter ordering the removal of tweets that speak of ‘farmer genocide’ claiming that it could be traced back to Khalistan or Pakistan supporters and that it was spreading misinformation. On January 31, they officially asked the platform to remove 257 URLs and one hashtag.
While Twitter publically reached out to Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, communication has come to a standstill. Following this, union ministers began announcing their presence on Koo. Some of them had already established themselves on the social media network and gathered lakhs of followers.
Can anyone just sign up and use Koo?
According to their CEO, Koo has been downloaded over 3 million times already. Available on Google Play and the App Store, it can be installed freely. Here, you can use audio, video and attach web links. Their website claims, “The best minds in India such as IAS officers, politicians, celebrities, journalists, IIT, IIM Executives, and 1000s of other professionals are active on Koo App everyday. Join them and make your voice heard!”
While Twitter still faces criticism for not complying with the central government, Indians continue to be the third largest demographic on the platform with over 18.9 million users.