India’s homegrown microblogging website Koo has got a new user who has stopped using Twitter – the Nigerian government. Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna posted on Twitter a welcome message along with a screenshot of the Nigerian government’s account on Koo.
Koo, owned by Bombinate Technologies, has long been touted as India’s alternative to Jack Dorsey’s Twitter, a foreign company that’s increasingly getting into mini battles with governments around the world over information technology rules, especially privacy issues.
The Nigerian government banned Twitter in the country last week after the microblogging website deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari. The move has provoked international outcry over freedom of expression and calls for protests online and on the street.
On Thursday, a user on Koo surfaced that identified itself as the Nigerian government’s official ID. An orange-yellow tick mark, similar to Twitter’s blue tick, showed the account as “verified” on Koo. It has over 9,900 followers and follows none.
The latest tweet by the Koo handle @nigeriagov mentions a government event in what is being seen as a serious intent behind the switch to India’s microblogging website as a tool for official communication. “Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka is a Special Guest at today’s event marking the flag-off of Lagos Ibadan Rail commercial operations,” the Nigerian government said.
“A very warm welcome to the official handle of the Government of Nigeria on @kooindia Spreading wings beyond India now,” tweeted Mr Radhakrishna.
— Aprameya R (@aprameya) June 10, 2021
Mr Radhakrishna tweeted on June 5 they are thinking of enabling local languages in Nigeria.
The Bengaluru-headquartered Koo has become the go-to microblogging website for government departments and some celebrities fed up with Twitter, which has often come under fire from all spectrums of political leanings over its content moderation and filtering methods.
Actor Kangana Ranaut, whose Twitter account has been permanently banned over a controversial tweet on post-election result violence in West Bengal, has 6.97 lakh followers on Koo.
The Twitter ban by Nigeria has provoked outcry from the United Nations, foreign governments and rights groups who are concerned about repression of media freedom.
Nigeria has said Twitter’s suspension in the country will end once the American social media giant submits to local licensing, registration and conditions, rejecting criticism the ban had stifled freedom of expression.
“First and foremost, Twitter must register as a company in Nigeria,” Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said, news agency AFP reported. “It will be licensed by the broadcasting commission, and must agree not to allow its platform to be used by those who are promoting activities that are inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria,” the minister said.