Microblogging platform Koo is betting on rapid user base growth to overtake Twitter in India within a year

Calcutta: In the midst of the buzz Elon Muskthe proposed acquisition of Twitter, Indiaour own microblogging platform koo aims to surpass it in the country within a year in terms of its user base, which has seen rapid growth, a senior company official said.

Launched in March 2020, the social media platform has seen 30 million downloads with a “10-fold” user base growth over the past 12 months and the number is expected to exceed 100 million by the end of 2022, founder and CEO of Koo Co. Aprameya Radhakrishna told PTI.

The platform, currently available in India in 10 languages, including English, has operations in Nigeria and considers more multilingual countries such as Indonesia as “priority” nations for overseas expansion, he said.

It has already raised $ 45 million and will “revisit funding plans” by the end of 2022, he said, adding that the company will be “ready to explore different types of monetization” over the next two years.

“We have 7-8 million active users every month and expect 100 million downloads by the end of 2022. In India, we are larger than Twitter in terms of non-English user base and our goal is to conquer the domestic market and become the largest microblogging platform in the country. We will do it in the next 12 months, “Radhakrishna told PTI in an interview.

Koo now has an “80% non-English” user base with Hindi microbloggers having the largest share, followed by Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali, he said.

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Asked whether Musk’s proposed $ 44 billion Twitter acquisition has an impact on Koo, Radhakrishna said, “The takeover is a British world phenomenon. We haven’t seen any positive or negative effects of that.

“The reason we started Koo is that when it comes to freedom of expression on the internet, it’s very limited to people who know English very well. We started the business to allow people to communicate in their own language.”

Being an open, transparent and impartial social media platform is very important, he said.

“Our goal is to maintain users’ trust and earn their trust. We have opened the site’s algorithms to the public. Elon Musk intends to do the same for Twitter. Authenticity of users on the platform is also important, and we have allowed people to self-verify using government identity documents such as Aadhaar. This encourages the most authentic users to be associated with our site, “said the IIM-Ahmedabad student.

When asked how the microblogging site is planning to expand the user base, he said it has diverse language communities and an English user can easily connect with people who use the local languages ​​on the site.

“We have uniquely developed the platform so that people can post in multiple languages. It is critical and important for us to capture the non-English market in India and connect it with English users.”

Speaking of fake accounts, abusive posts or hate speech, he said: “Users are free to express what they want and express their opinion, but they must follow the law of the territory, under which the guidelines are created. of the community. We encourage respectful free speech. ”

Koo is planning to set up an advisory council to deal with sensitive and extreme cases where some might view a particular assignment as “hate speech”, while others may find it “free speech,” Radhakrishna said.

It is important to have a process for dealing with such extreme situations. The proposed council can include 5-11 members in different fields, she said.

“We are working on it and hope to train the body within a year,” he added.

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