Government bodies move to desi app Koo, toughen stance against Twitter

Toughening its stance against Twitter after the microblogging site failed to respond to a notice issued by the government highlighting the violation of Section 69 of the Information Technology Act which is punishable with up to 7 years’ imprisonment, several government organizations including the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) have now moved to desi microblogging app Koo.

As per available reports, the Ministry and about a dozen of its affiliate organizations have moved to the indigenous Twitter-alternative platform Koo. They even have verified handles on the platform. Some of the government ministries and departments that have shifted to the desi micro-blogging website include handles of Ministry of Electronics and IT, MyGov, Digital India, India Post, NIC, NIELIT, SAMEER, Common Services Center, UMANG app, Digi Locker, NIXI, STPI, CDAC, and CMET among others.

This is a significant move and possibly a precursor to Twitter facing penal action including suspension for refusing to comply with government orders. The move by MEITY also indicates the government’s seriousness in looking out for an alternative social media platform to Twitter.

As per a report by the website Your Story:

Sources inside the government have told media publications that Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, who had liked some tweets in support of the farmers’ protests, including ones by global pop icon Rihanna, cast doubt over the platform’s commitment to ‘neutrality’ and how it will respond to recent requests by the country to suspend certain accounts.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad joined Koo in August last year after the app won the government-led Aatmanirbhar Bharat Innovation Challenge. More than 4.29 lakh people follow him on the platform. Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandviya is also on the Koo platform since August 2020 and has 2.34 Lakh followers.

Apart from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey endorsing anti-Bharat tweets, Twitter displayed arrogance by snubbing the government and restoring suspended left-liberal accounts. Cracking the whip, MEITY had handed over a list of 1178 Twitter handles in addition to blocking the de-blocked handles as these Twitter handles had been spreading anti-Bharat propaganda. However, Twitter has not responded to the government notice to date and that seems to have prompted the ministry to toughen its stance.

Officials have also warned of legal consequences if Twitter fails to follow the laws of the land. Government officials have made it clear that the platform can’t use “Twitter stands for freedom of expression” as an excuse to disobey the laws of the land.

The official spokesperson of Twitter said that when they are intimated about unlawful content on their platform, they examine the content with respect to both regional laws and Twitter rules. The spokesperson also held that if the content violates local laws but not Twitter rules then they withhold such tweets only in that specific region.

The homegrown micro-blogging website, Koo, which was a part of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge last year is increasingly gaining recognition after the government moved to take stricter action against Twitter. In this scenario, it is probably set to become the most sought after Twitter alternative for the government and its affiliated bodies. This app also received praises from PM Modi in his Mann Ki Baat last year. It must be mentioned here that Koo won the second prize in the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in the social category.

Twitter’s loss may well be Koo’s gain considering the fact that the app supports regional languages. The app was jointly created by entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka. At present, users can choose from four Bharatiya languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada to convey their thoughts on the platform. Other Bharatiya languages are set to follow soon on the app.

While Twitter continues to remain arrogantly defiant, several ministers, as well as Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa moving to the desi microblogging platform, could prove to be the much-desired push for Koo.

(Featured Image Source: Your Story)


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