Twitter’s loss might just be Koo’s gain, not just in India, but in faraway Nigeria too.
The Nigerian government has made an account on Koo, days after banning Twitter in the country. “A very warm welcome to the official handle of the Government of Nigeria on Koo! Spreading wings beyond India now,” wrote Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna. He shared a screenshot of a verified account of the Government of Nigeria on Koo.
Last week, Nigeria had banned Twitter after the platform had deleted a tweet from its President and blocked his account from tweeting for 12 hours. Immediately afterwards, Twitter was banned in the country, and telecommunications networks were given instructions to block the service. Koo at that point had stepped in and promoted its service in Nigeria, and invited Nigerians to use its app. With the government of Nigeria making an account on Koo, it would lend significant legitimacy to the platform, and possibly lead to millions of Nigerians joining in tow.
This is remarkably similar to the Twitter-Koo dynamic in India, but for different reasons — In India, Twitter has refused to comply with government regulations which require the company to appoint a compliance officer who can address customer grievances, and provide redressal against account and tweet suspensions for Indian users. While other social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Koo have agreed to appoint officers, Twitter is still holding out, refusing any scrutiny into its opaque process to remove and censor content.
Much like their Nigerian counterparts, Indian government agencies have also tried to move to Koo in response. Major government agencies including MeitY and the Railways have begun posting on Koo, as have several politicians from all parties. Several Indian users, who’re protesting Twitter’s unfair censorship policies, had also joined Koo en masse, and had hoped to create a parallel platform with more transparent rules.
The Indian government has, meanwhile, shot out a series of increasingly irate letters at Twitter, giving it a last chance to follow Indian laws if it wishes to operate in the country. Twitter has appeared to be conciliatory, but still hasn’t appointed a Compliance Officer for its India operations. With the Nigerian example before it, and millions of Indians already on Koo, Twitter would do well to be careful — with the company on shaky ground in India, and Koo waiting in the wings, there is fertile ground for an upheaval in the Indian social media space in the coming days.