Union Ministers sign up on Indian social media app Koo as tensions rise between Twitter and Centre

The Koo app is a micro-blogging platform to share opinion similar to Twitter. Users can discuss multiple topics in Indian languages and follow celebrities and politicians
Union Ministers sign up on Indian social media app Koo as tensions rise between Twitter and Centre

As the Government of India and Twitter are still at loggerheads over disagreements of blocking several accounts, a new made-in-India Aatmanirbhar App has emerged to give competition to multiple social media platforms in India.

According to the description of the app on Google Playstore, the micro-blogging platform named as Koo was declared as an Aatmanirbhar app and won the Aatmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge held by the central government in August 2020. The app was developed by Aparameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka. The app currently has over 10 lakh downloads.

The app is a micro-blogging platform to share opinion similar to Twitter. Users can discuss multiple topics in Indian languages. The app claims that “it empowers people to express their thoughts in Indian languages with a strong knit local Indian community.”

Many Indian celebrities and politicians are already using this platform. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said recently that he had opened an account on Koo. So did Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Several government departments have verified accounts on the social media site.

The popularity of Koo is increasing at a time when the Centre is having disagreements with Twitter over the blocking of several Twitter handles over a controversial hashtag. On Wednesday, Twitter released a detailed statement on their response to blocking orders from the central government.

Twitter says, “We believe transparency is the foundation to promoting healthy public conversation on Twitter and to earn trust. It is critical that people understand our approach to content moderation and how we engage with governments around the world, and that we are transparent about the consequences and the results of this work.”

“The values that underpin the Open Internet and free expression are increasingly under threat around the world. Following the reports of violence in New Delhi in recent weeks, we wanted to share a granular update on our proactive efforts to enforce our rules and defend our principles in India. Twitter exists to empower voices to be heard, and we continue to make improvements to our service so that everyone — no matter their views or perspective — feels safe participating in the public conversation,” Twitter said in the statement.

Twitter said that it has taken action against hundreds of accounts for violating Twitter rules, particularly inciting violence, tweeting abuse, wishing harm and threats that could trigger the risk of offline harm.

Twitter also said in its statement that it has prevented certain terms violated the company rules from appearing in the Trends section. “We have suspended more than 500 accounts that were engaging in clear examples of platform manipulation and spam. We have tackled misinformation based on the highest potential for real-world harm, and prioritized labelling of tweets that were in violation of our synthetic and manipulated media policy,” Twitter said.

Recently, the Centre served an order asking Twitter to remove over 1,000 hands which are Pakistan backed and have Khalistani supporters, for allegedly sharing provocative content and misinformation over the ongoing farmers’ protest in India.

According to reports, the Centre ordered the removal of 1,178 accounts. These accounts are automated bots that are used to share and intensify misinformation and provocative content on the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

The new order comes after the government had earlier asked Twitter to block 257 accounts. Reportedly, the microblogging platform is yet to adhere to the Indian government’s order which was given under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. According to Section 69A of IT Act, the government can block access to content that would pose a threat to public order.

The previous order of blocking 257 accounts was also issued under Section 69A. Earlier, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had directed Twitter to block 250 accounts for spreading provocative tweets with hashtags alleging the BJP government of planning farmers ‘genocide’ with proof.

The NationWide