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Could Koo be India’s new weapon against Twitter’s monopolistic stand?
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As Twitter faces the public's wrath in India and across the globe, the Make in India policy has allowed a few notable Twitter alternatives. Koo stands out to be a unique platform. Will it give competition to Twitter's monopolistic stand?

The social media presence in India is astounding megalith-like structure numbers. The Indian social space is unique; unlike the comparative rest of the world, India’s social space is so vast that the opinions made on a level in India could change the way one thinks upon a subject. Twitter was the basic conversing platform for the ages since its inception in 2006. It has grown folds beyond. Today, anyone with a smartphone and a good internet connection can easily start a Twitter account. It is that simple to join the world of Twitter. It is an application that established and broke many rules in the style of conversation.

Twitter today is as rogue as ever before. With the rise of a tech easy India, the rise of network-based user shave multiplied due to Jio. The number of mobile internet consumers in India is so huge that after the launch of Jio, India grew as the largest user base for internet users overtaking China, thus expanding a new set of operations in India that entirely focused on the growing Internet populations. More users entered YouTube and grew faster. India is the second biggest internet market globally, listed just behind China, with over 560 million active users. It has been reported that the population will have over 650 million mobile internet users by 2023. In 2020, the country’s percentage growth rate stood at about 50 percent, despite the large base of internet users. That meant that about half of the 1.37 billion Indians that year had access to the Internet. In comparison with just five years ago, when the internet penetration rate was around 27 percent, there has been a consistent rise in internet accessibility.

The number of internet users in India has constantly increased with the profound penetration of internet connectivity among individuals. The Digital India initiative sponsored by the Indian government too has made a significant contribution to this development. The year 2020, which happened to come under the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic, saw a significant amount of repercussion to social media to gather or express information and several new topics and discussions began to trend in India on social media. As users of social media began to rise, digital ad spending began to increase. Data shows that this development and various social media trends are poised to continue in India.

Most of the Internet consumers in India are Internet users of mobile phones who take advantage of inexpensive alternatives to expensive broadband/Wi-Fi connections that require P.C.s, laptops, and other equipment. On average, Indian mobile data users consume 11 G.B. of data every month. India is the world’s largest, ahead of markets such as China, the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Spain. In India, overall data traffic increased by 47 percent in 2019, driven by ongoing 4G consumption.

A socially moving nation

The number of social media users actively in India was 330 million in 2019 with the ease of internet connectivity and is projected to reach 448 million by 2023. Through their mobile devices, 290 million active social media users in India access social networks. India’s average age is 27 years. (1) The major contributors to the use of social networks in India are the Millennials and Gen Z. 52 percent of the findings on social media come from millennials. 28.4 percent of social media interactions are from Gen Z, and 15 percent are from 35 to 44. Ninety-seven percent of Internet-connected Indians watch online videos.

Facebook and YouTube are India’s most major social media networks. Amazon and Flipkart are the most popular platforms for online shopping. TikTok is 2019’s most downloaded app. WhatsApp’s entry into India’s digital market has boosted app usage, doubling in recent years in rural areas. Data shows that the messaging service’s reach extends wider than just urban areas. TikTok and Instagram are other popular apps. (2) TikTok had been such a huge hit in India, reaching 1.5 billion downloads globally, and with 467 million, or about 31 percent of all unique installations, India leads the chart.

Smartphones are progressively becoming the main screen for Indian customers as data packs become cheaper. The Internet is more accessible, which means that the smartphone and its apps are the main news sources for about 35 percent (3) of internet users in the country, most of whom use one or more social networks. With a large ratio of individuals in India accessing the Internet, urban penetration is twice that of rural penetration. Indian users spend two average hours on social media a day, on average. Half the male Internet population consists of the female population. There is a wide difference in the number of male and female internet users, which worsens in the rural context.

 

The lord of the network ring: Twitter

But, coming to the point, more than Facebook and Instagram, the real deal of conversations and popular trends rise from Twitter. Twitter has gained incredulous fame for its event turning moments, and it fast passed trend rise. Many news channels and global data researchers use Twitter as news reached the platform quicker than news. In turn, the news channel depends on the specialty of the app. Due to the deep engagement with their targeted consumers, social media platforms have become the go-to medium for brands in the last few years. If we look at Twitter, brands have flocked to the platform to maximize their reach and impact, and every year this trend is getting bigger. This trend of brands preferring social platforms over traditional ones in our quest to understand.

Taranjeet Singh was appointed as the new director of the India Operations. When asked about the growth of the social media platform, he said, “Our international revenue amounted to 208 million dollars in our first-quarter earnings, which is a two percent year-on-year increase. In terms of daily active users, India has become the number one growing market for us. As a market, India grew nearly five times more than the global average. (4) To us, India is a priority market. Last month, we launched Twitter Lite in India. It is mainly to make sure that Twitter is available to anyone with a smartphone as a product”.

When asked about its movement-based initiatives, he said (5), “

We work with the government very closely. Twitter Seva is the first service of its kind driven from India and continues to grow across government departments. With 11 of them, we are already productive, and there are many more who want the service to be activated. We also work very closely with the government to promote initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ to help them. In having reached out to decision-makers across key markets, Twitter has played a key role”

 

Controversies and Nationalizing the Platform

Have you seen the infamous trend on the Twitter platform, #BanTwitter? Ever thought how ironic it was to create such a trend through their platform? The reason for such trends was due to the number of controversies that ha spread through the app. Data Leaks, Intra-political and Inter-political wars, National tragedies, and the recent toolkit controversy over the farmer incidents have sparked the reasons as to why Twitter is now in deep waters. The rise of such allegations and how the nation’s privacy and security are compromised by such tweets (6). 

Religious afflictions and hatred amongst other factions have led to political and religious uprisings. Terror attacks and bomb blasts have played a major impact on Twitter’s secretive users who create fake accounts to spread hate. Twitter has been gaining a lot of flak for this, which is why many of the users threaten to leave Twitter. Even in the USA, the presidential elections were crucial for the stability of the government. The Capitol strikes and invasion causes rampant measures for Twitter to ban the perpetrator accounts immediately. Previous President Donald Trump’s account was under scrutiny for the tweets he posted that tended to incite a national movement; Twitter has to deem his tweets based on facts specially.

The same as well goes for India. Though, Twitter cannot be banned that way, as India’s total youth population has an account on Twitter and uses that for their daily dose of political news and knowledge. With such allegations and uprising making Twitter the haven for all socio-political agendas, the government is trying to build alternatives. Thus, the rise of alternative apps has been a trend. Irrespective of the situation, such a trend also began for the Make in India movement. One such app that could potentially be India’s Twitter is Koo. 

 

Koo: India’s alternative to Twitter

As the Indian government remains in a battle with Twitter over its demand for suspension of accounts, it claims that it has spread misinformation about farmers’ protest on an Indian micro-blogging platform called Koo, government officials, and ministries up accounts. It works just like Twitter, but Koo (7) provides users the option to write messages across several Indian languages. Koo was among the winners of a competition to find alternative solutions to Chinese apps initiated by the MEITY. In July last year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Koo on his Mann Ki Baat radio address when he announced the winners.

In February this year, Twitter continued to refuse to ban the government’s accounts. Several ministers kept asking for it, making a beeline for the Indian alternative. Today, Among some of the popular politicians who have joined the platform are Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, Minister of Law, and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar, and Chief Minister of Karnataka B.S.Yediyurappa, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya, and BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya. There are also several public bodies on Koo, such as the Department of Electronics (8). 

In March 2020, Koo was created by MBA graduates Radhakrishna and Bidawatka, who had invested in several companies before Koo was launched. TaxiForSure, an aggregator of rental cars and taxis, had been founded by Radhakrishna in 2010 (9). He sold it in 2015 to Ola. He also had co-founded Vokal India, an app that works the same way as Quora, the popular Q&A platform. Vokal allows users to communicate in vernacular. Koo now supports English, Kannada, Tamil, Telegu, and Marathi. According to their website, support for Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Assamese is also in operation. Up to 400 characters may be written, more than Twitter allows for 280 characters. Koo supports all multimedia functions, including video and audio.

Koo is available in several Indian languages and is one of its points of sale. Its tagline is to “connect with Indians in Indian languages.” Koo can be used either on your computer or your mobile app. It’s available on the Play Store (10) and Apple app store (11), and you can sign in using your phone number.

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My passion is Reading and writing. Basically, an optimistic introvert. Always striving to be better. Writing as a passion leads me to become stronger and focused.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article have been curated for our audience and does not warrant a 100% accuracy. All the information mentioned in the article is subject to change according to the changing viewpoints. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] for any change or copyright issues.

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Abraham George
Abraham George
My passion is Reading and writing. Basically, an optimistic introvert. Always striving to be better. Writing as a passion leads me to become stronger and focused.

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