Amid Centre-Twitter row, IT Ministry moves to homegrown platform Koo
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has set up an account on Koo, a homegrown platform akin to Twitter after the United States-based company failed to comply with the government's order of blocking some URLs in connection with the farmers' protests. Besides MeitY, a number of government departments have moved to the platform, the company said in a statement. Here's more.
Apart from MeitY, the platform has so far verified the handles of MyGov, Digital India, India Post, National Informatics Centre (NIC), National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Common Services Centre, UMANG app, Digi Locker, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). Launched 10 months ago, it had won the government's Aatmanirbhar App Challenge.
Koo revealed that Twitter's refusal to comply with the government's order sparked the development. "This move comes as a strategic response as an action against Twitter for not complying with the order for blocking around 257 Tweets and Twitter accounts that were tweeting about farmer genocide, (sic)" the statement read. Notably, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had joined the platform in August last year.
Clearly ecstatic with the push given by government agencies, Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna said, "We are humbled and at the same time excited by the adoption and encouragement by so many noteworthy personalities and recently the entry of the topmost government offices of the country onto Koo." The platform (whose USP is that it supports Indian languages) is deeply focused on India, he added.
To recall, Twitter locked horns with the Indian government after it sat over a direction to block 257 URLs for one full day. The Centre had claimed the objectionable URLs were spreading misinformation about the ongoing farmers' agitation. Twitter took the necessary steps but unblocked the URLs without the government's permission. A furious Centre then sent a notice to Twitter.
Thereafter, on February 4, the Indian government shared a list of 1,178 accounts, asking Twitter to block them. These accounts belong to Pakistani and Khalistani users and threaten public order, the government argued. In fact, questions about the neutrality of the platform were also raised, citing CEO Jack Dorsey's move of "liking" tweets by foreign celebrities in support of the agitation.
Responding to the latest diktat, Twitter said the company prioritizes the safety of its employees. "We continue to be engaged with the Government of India from a position of respect and have reached out to the Honorable Minister, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for a formal dialogue, (sic)" a spokesperson said, adding that the company stands for "open and free exchange of information."