Representational Image: iStock

Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN social media app Koo on Thursday (10) said the Government of Nigeria has set up an official account on its platform in the wake of a standoff with Twitter. Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna announced on the platform: “The official handle of the government of Nigeria is now on Koo!” He also shared the information on Twitter saying: “A very warm welcome to the official handle of the Government of Nigeria on @kooindia ! Spreading wings beyond India now”.

Last week, the African nation indefinitely suspended the US-based microblogging site to reportedly protest its act of deleting a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari for breaching of rules. The Nigerian government alleged that Twitter was being used to undermine the country’s “corporate existence” through spreading fake news that has “violent consequences”.

However, the decision by the Nigerian government created a controversy in Nigeria as sections opposed the ban and Twitter itself said that it was “deeply concerned” by the blocking. “Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world.” Former US president Donald Trump, however, congratulated Nigeria for banning Twitter which banned him following the riots at Capitol Hill in Washington DC in January this year.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, speaks during an interview on Nigeria’s suspension of Twitter in Abuja, Nigeria, on June 9, 2021. (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Koo looks to expand outside India
Koo said following Nigeria’s ban on Twitter that its platform is available in the African nation and it is keen on adding new local languages for the benefit of users there. “Now that there is an opportunity for microblogging platforms in Nigeria…Koo is looking at introducing local Nigerian languages in the app,” Radhakrishna had told PTI in an interview. The Koo CEO said that the platform is eager on making inroads in the Nigerian market and it will abide by the local laws of the countries where it operates. Koo has said in the past that it complies with India’s IT rules enforced last month and it shared necessary details sought by the government on the issue.

Koo was launched last year and it supports several languages including Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and others. Founded by Mayank Bidawatka, Koo has over 60 lakh users and recently raised $30 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global. Koo’s popularity in India has also peaked as Twitter has found itself at odds with the government and calls for expansion of the ecosystem of homegrown digital platforms. The platform has particularly seen a huge growth in its user base over the past few months and a number of central ministers and government departments in India endorsed the homegrown platform.