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Friday, March 5, 2021

GOI Shifting to Koo? No More Tweets from Twitter but Just Koo it

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Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Prakash Saxena is a graduate of UBC, Vancouver, Canada. He is an authority on eCommerce, eProcurement, eSign, DSCs and Internet Security. He has been a Technology Bureaucrat and Thought leader in the Government. He has 8 books and few UN assignments. He wrote IT Policies of Colombia and has implemented projects in Jordan, Rwanda, Nepal and Mauritius. Rajiv writes, speaks, mentors on technology issues in Express Computers, ET, National frontier and TV debates. He worked and guided the following divisions: Computer Aided Design (CAD), UP: MP: Maharashtra and Haryana State Coordinator to setup NICNET in their respective Districts of the State, TradeNIC, wherein a CD containing list of 1,00,000 exporters was cut with a search engine and distributed to all Indian Embassies and High Commissions way back in the year 1997 (It was an initiative between NIC and MEA Trade Division headed by Ms. Sujatha Singh, IFS, India’s Ex Foreign Secretary), Law Commission, Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Justice, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), National Jail Project, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities (NCM), National Data Centres (NDC), NIC National Infrastructure, Certifying Authority (CA) to issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs), eProcurement, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA), Lok Sabha and its Secretariat (LSS) and Rajya Sabha and its Secretariat (RSS) along with their subordinate and attached offices like Directorate of Estate (DoE), Land & Development Office (L&DO), National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB), Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDO), National Building Organisation (NBO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), BMPTC and many others.

Social media allows us to be more engaged with people, we already know or we adore or our role models. Social media gives the world access their friends at any moment, making them feel less alone, even if they are physically distanced. 

Social media allows us to engage with people, we don’t know, who have similar interests, and make a big social change in the society. We’ve all heard and dreaded the horror stories of the social media. Problems like cyber-bullying and sexting scandals have latched themselves on to the idea of the various social media mediums, skewing their perception negatively. There is also excessive trolling on the social media. However, social media use has many positives that we are consistently overlooking.

From my own experience, I know that the relationships I’ve built with other people over the years have only been stronger because of the social media by allowing me the ability to keep up with their lives regardless, if I’m able to see them or speak to them in person. Most of us were separated from our friends and family once we left for college, and social media effortlessly aids us in keeping those relationships alive, active and vibrant after so many years and recollect the childhood secrets and passion of our lives.

According to the Pew Research Center, “more than eight-in-ten social media-using teens say social media makes them more connected to the information about what is happening in their friends’ lives and 70 percent say these social platforms better connect them to their friends’ feelings.”  

Social media platforms are a great ways for people who are otherwise shyer to open up and feel less alone and lonely. In a study done by the Griffith University and the University of Queensland, Australia they found that young adults felt less isolated than those from previous generations because of their ability to connect with others. The icons and celebrities on the social media are great influencers and they are followed and adored by the fans. Former US President Barack Obama tops the list with 129 million followers; prior to his account’s suspension in January 2021, Donald Trump was #6 on the list (with 88 million followers). Our respected PM, Office of the PM, Senior Bachhan and International cricketer Viarat Kohli has more than 50 Million followers. Actor Akshaya Khanna has more than 40 million active twitter followers worldwide.

Recording more than 3 million downloads in just 24 hours, Koo has suddenly become the talk of the town with many big-ticket politicians and celebrities joining the platform in the wake of the government’s ongoing stand-off with Twitter and the Government is perfectly right. India cannot be dictated by the likes of Rihanna, Baby Greta and nieces and uncles of current VP of US, who has no connect with the ground and local sentiments of the nation.

On Koo, a similar platform as Twitter where users can express their opinions, though it is being marketed as India’s answer to Twitter for non-English users. Aprameya Radhakrishna is the developer, co-founder and CEO of Koo and launched the app in March 2020. One of the prominent differences between Koo and Twitter is that the indigenous app offers services in various local languages allowing many Indians to use the platform with ease. The fact that only 10 per cent Indians are vocal in English has been the selling point for the application.

Since a large number of Indian population does not speak English, Koo is trying “to make the voice of these Indians heard. They can now participate on the internet in their mother tongue by listening to the views of some of the sharpest Indian minds and also speak their mind by sharing their thoughts.”

Koo app, a desi alternative to Twitter, is creating a lot of buzz lately. Koo has suddenly become the talk of the town with many big-ticket politicians and celebrities joining the platform in the wake of the government’s ongoing stand-off with Twitter, where SC has also become active. Government officials are promoting the application that was awarded as winner of Atma Nirbhar Bharat app challenge under social category in 2020. Now, the app is again under spotlight possibly due to ongoing tussle between Indian government and Twitter. Apart from hosting controversies on its platform, Twitter has been facing controversies of its own. After outrage by celebrities over reduction of followers, lack of action on abusive profiles, the latest attack for the Jack Dorsey Twitter was discontent from the Government. “Koo is a made-in-India app that has become a toast for success today and we should be proud of it. It is a matter of pride for me that Indians are heading so many multi-technology companies. Let us salute the extraordinary courage of our start-ups,” Prasad said during the Question Hour.

The Government had reacted sternly to Twitter’s refusal to act on the Centre’s order requesting deletion of tweets and hashtags related to terms like ‘farmer genocide’ and Khalistan sympathisers. He added, “We have now flagged Twitter. Our department has engaged with the company. When there is violence in US Capitol Hill, social media platforms encourage police investigation but when Red Fort is breached, the same platforms go against the government of India.” As a result, a homegrown alternative Koo is gaining prominence among the celebrities. Twitter has double edged face, one for Donald Trump, who was suspended and other is for activities, which are promoting anti-India narrative.

French cybersecurity researcher Robert Baptiste, who also goes by the alias Elliot Alderson on Twitter, has highlighted that the app is leaking user information. Baptiste had earlier pointed out vulnerabilities in the Aadhaar system along with security bugs and vulnerabilities in other tech services. On Wednesday, he took to Twitter and said that Koo had loopholes that can lead to leaking of personal data including email, name, DOB, marital status, gender. This means that there was a possibility of data leakage of millions of users including the Indian government departments who were using the platform. These can be plugged using security tools.

Meanwhile, some Chinese connection to this app has also surfaced. A Chinese company named Shunwei (which is connected to Xiaomi and is a venture capital fund investing in start-ups), has also invested in Koo. However, Shunwei will now be exiting the company and will be selling its stake, making Koo a complete Indian entity. This has been confirmed by the Koo co-founder.

Besides, Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), MyGov, Digital India, India Post, National Informatics Centre (NIC), National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Common Services Centre, UMANG app, Digi Locker, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and others have set up accounts on Koo. Anil Kumar Jain, CEO of NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India), also spoke of setting up a presence on Koo.

In order to break the hegemony of Twitter, the Government of India, may 1st communicate on Koo and around 1 to 3 hours later on the Twitter, thus it make Koo as the choice of social media communication. It will copy paste the information from Koo thus reducing the importance of the Twitter. All the departments, union secretaries, central departments and ministries will join Koo one by one. All BJP ruled CM’s will also join Koo, leave aside Khujliwal and our Pappu and Pappi. The buildup will be slow and steady and there is a strong indication that our beloved PM Modiji will also join the desi micro blogging site Koo sooner than later to denounce the rising influence of the leftist oriented Twitter.

Time for the India to rise and shine!

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Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Saxena
Rajiv Prakash Saxena is a graduate of UBC, Vancouver, Canada. He is an authority on eCommerce, eProcurement, eSign, DSCs and Internet Security. He has been a Technology Bureaucrat and Thought leader in the Government. He has 8 books and few UN assignments. He wrote IT Policies of Colombia and has implemented projects in Jordan, Rwanda, Nepal and Mauritius. Rajiv writes, speaks, mentors on technology issues in Express Computers, ET, National frontier and TV debates. He worked and guided the following divisions: Computer Aided Design (CAD), UP: MP: Maharashtra and Haryana State Coordinator to setup NICNET in their respective Districts of the State, TradeNIC, wherein a CD containing list of 1,00,000 exporters was cut with a search engine and distributed to all Indian Embassies and High Commissions way back in the year 1997 (It was an initiative between NIC and MEA Trade Division headed by Ms. Sujatha Singh, IFS, India’s Ex Foreign Secretary), Law Commission, Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of Justice, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), National Jail Project, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities (NCM), National Data Centres (NDC), NIC National Infrastructure, Certifying Authority (CA) to issue Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs), eProcurement, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA), Lok Sabha and its Secretariat (LSS) and Rajya Sabha and its Secretariat (RSS) along with their subordinate and attached offices like Directorate of Estate (DoE), Land & Development Office (L&DO), National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB), Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDO), National Building Organisation (NBO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), BMPTC and many others.

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