With Twitter being indefinitely suspended (but still available in certain parts of the country for those who dare) in Nigeria, Indian social networking platform Koo, which is often touted to be the homegrown alternative to Twitter (complete with a bird that’s not blue, but yellow) has decided to try its luck in the West African-country.
The platform, which was founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna, announced that it is available in Nigeria, while also asking for users’ views on whether it should also make local languages available.
Seems like Koo was just ready to make a dash for it, as news that it can be used by Nigerian locals emerged barely a day after Twitter was banned in the nation following allegations of its attempted use for threatening the “corporate existence of Nigeria”. Radhakrishna, who also happens to be the CEO at Koo, confirmed the news on his Twitter and Koo accounts. He later told the media, “We are thinking of enabling the local language there as well.”
Before this, he had also said that doing business in Nigeria would be quite similar to doing so in India, adding that “Nigeria is similar to India in terms of language diversity. It has hundreds of regional languages. Koo has a global outlook and will enable micro-blogging in countries that need it the most. We have built a scalable platform, and while we are still enhancing the product, it’s already available for use in multiple countries today.”
As Twitter remains available to users in certain parts of the nation even after its alleged suspension, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Multi threatened legal action against anyone who dared to use the service through web and app.
The reason for the ban has been attributed to the use of the platform for spreading secessionist sentiment among the masses. The tension aggravated after Twitter deleted a post made by the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari, wherein he had said that those who “misbehave” will be treated in a language “they understand”.
Koo, which was launched in India last year during the pandemic, has already managed to raise funds worth $30 million from leading global investors like Tiger Global, and, in the words of Radhakrishna, has “aggressive plans” to grow into a world-class leader in social media.
Being available both on Android via Google Play and on Apple through App Store, the platform has already amassed more than 50 lakh Indian users during its short lifespan.
In its home market, Koo’s growth has been supported by the slew of ministers who have joined the service, especially owing to the little bit of tussle that has been raging between competitor Twitter, and the Central government, most recently over India’s recent IT rules.