New Delhi-In early February, politicians from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party began to sign up for a social network that almost no one had heard of.
“I’m in Koo right now,” the Minister of Commerce of India Post Send messages to his nearly 10 million followers on Twitter. “Contact me on this Indian Weibo platform to get real-time, exciting and exclusive updates.” According to data from Sensor Tower, an app analytics company, millions of people (most of whom are BJP supporters) followed After that, the Twitter clone became a hot topic immediately, and in the 10 days earlier this month, more than 2 million people installed the Twitter.
The timing is no coincidence.For several days, the Indian government has been engaged in a fierce tug of war with Twitter, which has ignored legal orders Blockage Criticize reports from the Hindu nationalist government in India, including those belonging to journalists and investigative news magazines.In response, the Ministry of Information Technology of India Threat Send Twitter officials to jail. In the stalemate, government officials promoted Koo as a nationalist alternative not influenced by the United States.
The site claims to be “Voice of India in Indian Language“It’s almost the same as Twitter, except that the number of “Koos” is limited to 400 words. The hot topics are full of government propaganda, and the logo is yellow instead of blue bird.
What’s more disturbing is that Hindu supremacy is rampant on the ancient island, and hate speech against India’s largest ethnic minority Muslims spread freely under the impetus of some of the government’s most hardcore supporters.
An Indian Bharatiya Janata Party member issued a poll asking followers to choose from four labels that slander Muslims, including “anti-national” and “jihadist dogs.” A man’s resume stated that he taught at the Indian Institute of Technology, a top engineering school whose graduates were coveted by Silicon Valley. He shared a hateful cartoon depicting Muslim men as members of bloodthirsty thugs. Some shared conspiracy theories about Muslims spitting in people’s food to spread diseases, while others shared news stories about crimes committed by people with Muslim names in an attempt to demonize the entire religion. One person warned Muslims not to follow him and called them slanderers. “I hate [them],” one of his posts said.
With the global internet FragmentsAnd mainstream platforms such as Facebook and Twitter Against the nation state with Intermittently In the fight against hate speech, alternatives to nationalism have sprung up, and experts say this is a growing trend.
“This content wants to find a new home,” Evelyn Dueck, a lecturer at Harvard Law School who studies global online speech regulation, told BuzzFeed News. She said that the hate speech, false information, harassment and incitement that mainstream platforms have struggled with for years are particularly problematic on platforms like Koo, because these sites are less censored. “These problems will eventually appear on every platform,” Douek said, “but with the proliferation of these alternatives, the attention and pressure on them may be greatly reduced. It also creates a possibility that the global Internet There will be a kind of discourse, and a completely substitute dialogue will happen simultaneously on the national platform.
Koo’s co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told BuzzFeed News that his website is not intended to be a vehicle for hatred, nor is it intended to be an ideological echo chamber.
“You can’t review every piece of content on a large scale,” he said.
Radhakrishna is an entrepreneur in Bangalore who sold a ride-hailing startup to India’s Uber competitor Ola in 2015 for $200 million. He launched Koo in March last year.Earlier this month, following the surge in downloads, the company raised 4.1 million USD From investors, including former Infosys co-founder Mohandas Pai, a staunch supporter of the Modi government.
Radhakrishna said that Koo does not have an audit team. Instead, the platform relies on people to flag content that they think is problematic. A team only looked at what Radhakrishna called “exceptions.”
“Even Facebook and Twitter are still considering moderation,” Radhakrishna said. “We are a 10-month-old company. We are formulating our policies.” He added that he believes that expressing ideas is not a problem until it leads to violence.
“We don’t act on something just because we like it,” he said. “It will be carried out in accordance with the laws of the land.”
Hidden in the app’s terms and conditions, a small section called “Rules and Behaviors” prohibits people from posting content that “invades the privacy of others”, “hate”, “racial” or “racial offensive” or “derogatory”.
in spite of Compare For Parler, who has positioned himself as a conservative alternative to Twitter and Facebook in the United States, Radhakrishna insists that his app has nothing to do with politics. “We hope that anyone who wants to adopt the platform can adopt it,” he said. “Politics is not the only aspect of India. This platform is designed to express and express anything.”
More than ten Indian government departments Use now Goo. Earlier this month, the country’s IT department, the government department that threatened Twitter officials with imprisonment, issued a statement on Koo expressing its dissatisfaction with Twitter, and then issued the same statement on Twitter several hours later. This department is the preferred platform for official announcements by the department.
Inside Twitter, which ranks India as one of the fastest-growing global markets, employees are paying close attention to Koo. “This is definitely our goal,” an employee who requested anonymity told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t know if this is a threat, but we are observing it.”
Radhakrishna said the company’s local origins give it an advantage. He said: “We are an Indian company and we will formulate our behavior around the Indian environment.” “This will be better than what international companies do because they are also guided by their own domestic policies.”
When asked what “Indian context” means, Radhakrishna said that he did not have any specific examples. “I haven’t dealt with any real situations,” he said.