31st July 2021

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Koo – the microblogging site

Koo – the microblogging site was co-founded by entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka. Radhakrishna had founded the online taxi booking service TaxiForSure, which was later sold to Ola Cabs. Before Koo, its parent company, Bombinate Technologies Pvt Ltd, launched and operates the Indian version of Quora called Vokal.

  • According to data obtained from Crunchbase, the company raised Series of funds in 2018 from a group of investors, including Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Accel Partners India.
  • In the latest round of funding announced earlier this month, 3one4 Capital of former Infosys TV chief financial officer Mohandas Pai also joined the list of those investing in Bombinate Technologies.
  • While the app launched in early 2020, her participation and the ensuing victory in the government’s Atmanirbhar Apps Innovation Challenge put her in the spotlight.
  • The app, along with other Indian-made apps such as Zoho and Chingari, the local version of TikTok, won the challenge, which was launched by the Center shortly after banning dozens of apps with Chinese links that raise national security concerns.
  • Following the outcome of the Atmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge, also mentioned the app in his Mann Ki Baat speech.

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Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, Minister of Law and Information Ravi Shankar Prasad, MPs from Tejasvi Surya and Shobha Karandlaje, Chief Minister of Karnataka BS Yediyurappa, Isha Jaggi Vasudev Foundation, former cricketers from Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble are among the politicians, ministers and celebrities who have joined the app. In addition, the Union Ministry of Informatics, India Post and Niti Aayog are among the government departments that have an account on the app.

  • The fact that various ministers and politicians are supporting the Indian microblogging site, especially at a time when the world’s largest platform in this segment has not responded in the most favorable terms to the demands of the Indian government, is a key indicator for the government situation.
  • Willingness to promote an alternative to the social media platform. In a harsh message to the American firm, the Union’s IT ministry said Twitter was an intermediary and “they are obliged to obey the instructions of the government. Refusing to do so will result in criminal action ”.
  • The company has been informed that failure to meet government requirements could also result in action being taken under Section 69A (3) of the Information Technology Act, which could potentially result in the liability of senior officials of the company to a financial penalty.

Koo, an Indian microblogging platform that offers a Twitter-like experience in Indian languages, has been accused of exposing its users’ personal data by French security researcher Robert Baptiste, who goes by the pseudonym Elliot Alderson ( @ fs0c131y on Twitter). Baptiste said he spent 30 minutes on Koo at the request of Twitter users and found that the microblogging platform exposed sensitive information about its users, such as email addresses, names, gender, etc. He also posted a series of tweets detailing his findings on Koo. India’s new social media platform recently gained traction after Twitter refused to block some accounts linked to the continued farmers’ protest at the behest of the government.

  • Through screenshots posted on Twitter, Baptiste seems to suggest that it was fairly easy for him to access the personal information of Koo users. He said the app leaked personal data of its users, including email, date of birth, marital status and gender. In more screenshots, Baptiste also suggested that Koo had a domain registered in the United States with the holder based in China.
  • Koo, who resembles Indian Twitter, is heavily promoted by government officials, including Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who recently invited users to join him on the app through a post on Twitter. Koo, available for desktop, iOS, and Android, offers a Twitter-like experience in Indian languages.
  • The app won the India AatmaNirbhar Bharat Digital Innovative Challenge last year, which aimed to encourage local app development. Koo was developed by Aprameya Radhakrishna, who is also the co-founder and CEO of the platform launched in March last year.
  • Union Broadcasting and Information Minister Prakash Javadekar joined Koo, India’s microblogging platform, and was added to the list of ministers who have already said “local” when opening their Koo accounts. Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who joined Koo a few days ago, thanked his subscribers on Friday, as the number of subscribers on the new app reached 5 lakh on Friday.

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