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90 per cent of India is going to be attracted to a platform that will speak in their language: Koo App creator

Aprameya Radhakrishna, the co-founder of the Koo App, speaks to India Today about the desi social media platform.

twitter-logoMilan Sharma | February 11, 2021 | Updated 18:31 IST
(Picture: Google PlayStore)

Highlights

  • Koo app creator Aprameya Radhakrishna said that the app is different because it lets users converse in their own languages.
  • He noted that the app is helping users become self-reliant on our own technology.
  • Radhakrishna said that Twitter users will use Koo simultaneously.

Koo app creator talks to India Today about the desi platform. Can the Atmanirbhar app become India's alternative to Twitter? Aprameya Radhakrishna, the co-founder of the Koo App, speaks to Milan Sharma.

Q. the Koo app has been positioned as the Amtanirbhar app of India. What does the Koo platform endorse?

Most app platforms are English and those who are comfortable with the language. That leads to the top half of the English speakers, which would be about 1 per cent to use the app. And those who don't converse in English but have access to a mobile phone or have internet access.. but can't express themselves in the same community. We thought let's create an experience that will deep dive into that Indianness - to talk in my own language with people of a community and the topics of my community: so that's what makes it different.

Q. Do you see it gaining momentum because the Indian government is endorsing it as an alternative to Twitter amidst the ongoing tensions between them?

Having an India based app is very important when it comes to social media. It is also helping us become self-reliant on our own technology. I think Twitter helps connect India to the world with various personalities, but we are choosing to go deeper into India. And we are making it happen. Even the officials who join it will help them connect with India.

Q. Have you gathered from moving into rural India? Apps like TikTok were a hit in the rural India segment as well with mobile and internet connectivity. Is Koo app going to be one of those?

The mood on each app is different. The mood on our app is thoughts and opinions. TikTok was more entertainment. If you look in the Kannada community, every small little village and district is covered- we've had people join from there, which shows the need for uniting as a Kannada community. As with any community. These are people who may not have heard of any other apps for sharing their thoughts and opinions in the community, and for them, it could be a first-time experience.

Q. There is a raging debate over threats to freedom of speech on micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter... the govt had asked for blocking of certain accounts and tweets about the farmers' protest, with the Indian authorities promoting your app, does this create a "us vs them" narrative?

Nobody's quitting Twitter. Just people on Twitter have created an account on Koo as well. I believe the purposes are different. Communicating in a local language for the people of India, that is what we are enabling. This whole "we are there, and they are not" us an over-hype. We are just happy it has got so much love from the top officials of India and others, we are really working hard to make things happen.

Q. On scaling up people on Koo vs users on Twitter -

It is a matter of time, we are only ten months old. We saw that people who joined last year have surpassed their followers here. 90% of India is going to be attracted to a platform that will speak in their language. Our English platform is going to a part of other regional languages platforms where the numbers are going to be higher.

Q. On plans for going global?

Make a strong product for the country first. The idea is to build it together in India. And no not once we are strong here, we will eventually look at launching in other countries as well. That will happen once we truly arrive as a country that can develop technology products and take it forward.

Q. In terms of users, Twitter ranks second in the world after the USA. Sanjeev Sanyal said Koo is still very unstable and needs features such as finding people (sorted out). How will you scale up to cater to a country of more than a billion people?

We didn't expect we would receive so much love from the users, we expected to move step by step, but the response has been overwhelming. We are putting in a new build upon scaling up the capacity which should take care of the current small issues on the app.

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