Daily US Times: While Twitter finds itself in a prolonged standoff with the government of India over the company’s refusal to take down certain accounts, a senior executive of Koo, a very similar Indian social network like Twitter says the sudden attention on his app has been “overwhelming.” Critics say this is a step to keep in check the big tech companies.
Mayank Bidawatka, co-founder of Koo, said: “It feels like … you’ve just been put in the finals of the World Cup suddenly and everyone’s watching you and the team.”
Koo, touted by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and used enthusiastically by several ministers and officials in his government, has been downloaded 3.3 million times so far this year, according to data from Sensor Tower. It’s a promising start for a company founded less than a year ago, but less than Twitter’s 4.2 million downloads in India during the same period.
However, Koo, which sports a bird logo familiar to any Twitter user, was downloaded more times than Twitter in February — when the Indian government called out Twitter for not doing enough to block accounts sharing what it called “incendiary and baseless” hashtags around a protest by farmers against new agricultural laws.
Several governments are now reckoning with, and seeking to rein in, the power of big tech companies. Europe, Australia and the US have floated regulations in recent months that aim to blunt some of that power.
India is no different in targeting massive global tech firms, but much of its focus in recent months has been around protecting its sovereignty and national security.
India’s 750 million internet users, with hundreds of millions of more usres yet to come online for the first time, are crucial to Big Tech’s global growth prospects. Google (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), Netflix (NFLX) and several others have already poured billions of dollars into growing their Indian operations.