Koo wants to be the largest opinion platform in the world without an opinion of its own: Founder

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“An Internet open to people who don’t speak English… this experience for the wider audience of India has never been seen on the Internet. And that’s exactly what we’re enabling.” Aprameya Radhakrishna, Koo’s co-founder and CEO, is aware of what his version of microblogging has achieved in the few years since it went live.

Launched in early 2020, Koo is now available in 10 Indic languages ​​including English with over 20 million downloads to date. Radhakrishna says up to 40 percent of these users are active on the platform each month. Koo made his first international foray with Nigeria late last year.

The unique aspect of Koo is the fact that users can publish their posts in all languages, with the platform itself translating from the original. According to Radhakrishna, this means that Koo’s users are able to quickly spread their thoughts and knowledge across the different Indic languages, thus making those audiences familiar with these ideas. “I think that’s the true power of Koo.”

“English will be a true reflection of what India is,” Radhakrishna asks, adding that 95 percent of users on the platform will use their own language to express themselves. “We bridge that with translation and give the creator himself the power of translation,” he says, explaining how each language community on Koo becomes in some way an integrated community with its own trends and sensibilities. He says this approach helps users get to know others who speak their language while also having an overview of the larger trends in India.

Radhakrishna is clear that Koo wants to be associated with thoughts and opinions, of course with the regional language layers. “We will be there for thoughts and opinions on anything, it can be cricket, it can be a film, it can be spirituality… So the more we are involved in places where thoughts and opinions arise, the more people will use us . So that’s the basis for the moment,” he explains.

However, it is also clear to him that Koo wants to be “the largest opinion platform in the world without an opinion of his own”. In his words, this means: “If Tamil Nadu is a certain species, we will show it as it is. If Karnataka is a specific species, we will show it as it is. As such, our platform should be unbiased, consistent and transparent in our operations.” Through transparency, Radhakrishna clarifies that if Koo removes some content, they will provide a clear justification for it – this is in contrast to what other social networks are doing now .

Radhakrishna is also aware that there is a certain perception associated with the platform now, one that it may be more aligned with a specific political thought. “We try to make everyone feel welcome because perception is not reality. We shouldn’t be judged on how our community comes across,” he says, adding that the Punjab CM Office and Trinamool Congress have now all started actively using the platform. “We also have very strong opposition leaders … and everyone is allowed to speak out.”

The global sentiment that “global tech giants may be biased” is an opportunity Koo is keen to seize, especially given its advantage of being a multilingual platform. “The current rules on freedom of expression do not apply equally to all countries. And respect for that is what every country around the world is starting to demand,” he says, adding that he believes Koo is capable of becoming a solution where countries want their local language and culture are respected. “And for a person who speaks primarily in one language, the tools we’re developing are capable of reaching the international community in other languages.”

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