Updated: February 18, 2021 2:31:12 pm
At a time when the Centre is embroiled in a kerfuffle with microblogging site Twitter over blocking of certain accounts, several ministers and departments of the Union government have started flocking on Koo App — a homemade version of the social networking platform.
Who is behind the Koo App?
The microblogging site was co-founded by entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka. Radhakrishna had founded online cab booking service TaxiForSure, which was subsequently sold to Ola Cabs. Prior to Koo, its parent company — Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd — launched and is operating the Indian version of Quora called Vokal. According to data sourced from Crunchbase, the company raised Series A funding in 2018 from a clutch of investors including Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Accel Partners India. In the latest round of funding announced earlier this month, former Infosys CFO TV Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital also joined the list of those investing in Bombinate Technologies.
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How did Koo app rise to prominence?
While the app was launched in early 2020, its participation and the subsequent winning of the government’s Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge brought it under the limelight. The app, along with other India-made apps like Zoho and Chingari — the local version of TikTok, won the challenge, which was launched by the Centre close on the heels of banning scores of apps with Chinese links citing national security concerns. Following the outcome of the Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge, the app was also mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat address.
Which prominent accounts are there on Koo App?
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Law & IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Members of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and Shobha Karandlaje, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Isha Foundation’s Jaggi Vasudev, former cricketers Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble are among the politicians, ministers and celebrities to have joined the app. In addition, the Union IT Ministry, India Post and the Niti Aayog are among the government departments to have an account on the app.
What is the significance of top political personalities joining Koo App?
The fact that several ministers and politicians are putting their weight behind the Indian microblogging site, especially at a time when the world’s largest platform in this segment has not responded in the most favourable terms to the Indian government’s demands, is a key indicator of the government’s willingness to push an alternative to the social networking platform. In a stern message to the American firm, the Union IT Ministry had noted that Twitter was an intermediary and “they are obliged to obey the directions of the government. Refusal to do so will invite penal action”. The company was told that non-compliance with the government’s demands could also lead to action being taken under the Section 69A (3) of the IT Act, which could potentially have the senior officials of the company in prison for up to seven years, in addition to a financial penalty.
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