Social media app Koo
Social media app Koo
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I spent 48 hours on Atmanirbhar Bharat’s own Koo to get a taste of the new social media Kurukshetra. But unlike Twitter, it is no battleground, but just an echo chamber so far.

With more than 3 million users, Koo, however, is no joke, even if its name sounds like one.
The Indian social media knockoff, with its rather sad ‘sone ki chidiya’ icon, Koo is everything Twitter is not. And yet, it is also exactly like Twitter. An important distinction is that you ‘koo’ instead of tweet, and that too in up to 400 characters. The ballpark of avian references is rather persistent in this field, it seems.


Also read: Koo, made-in-India app govt is using to respond to Twitter & ministers are logging on to


An alternate reality

When I joined the app, to figure out what the fuss is about, I encountered its shady-looking privacy policy that was frankly enough to send anyone packing. As indicated by some reports, and what I saw myself, Koo stores all your personal data including name, age, marital status (why?), device location, etc. But they do say curiosity killed the cat, or in this case any hopes of data privacy.

Screengrab from Koo app | Rachel John

Then, the top recommendations on the app were Republic TV, and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Amit Malviya and Piyush Goyal.

Screengrab from Koo app | Rachel John

From then on, venturing into the app was like entering an alternate reality where certain users got their wish to ban voices that they disagreed with from Twitter. It is as if you are speaking and every single person in the room is nodding. No one disagrees and everything is shiny and beautiful on this Truman show.

The most popular accounts (kooers?) are named ‘The VedicRing of Fire’, ‘The Frustrated Indian’, ‘VedicKeeda’, and so on. And as the names suggest, these accounts represent quite an interesting amalgamation of extreme national pride, religious hate, and a lot of conspiracy theories.

Koo users can be broadly categorised into three groups:

The first is the Sushant Singh Rajput justice crusaders who seem to have migrated to the app after being steadily ignored everywhere else. Hashtags like #JusticeforSSR and #CBIPunishSSRKillers are quite common. And their dedication for the cause is so real that one account is even named ‘Any SSRians here?’

The second is the deshbhakt users. They koo every newspaper article, report, video and WhatsApp forward about Bharat and its ‘aatmanirbharta‘. These include die-hard fans of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress haters. There are constant evocations of Jawaharlal Nehru to blame him for everything, and Rahul Gandhi is also regularly calledpappu’ because there are hardly any Congress backers on the forum to challenge their remarks. But the defining principle all around is ‘hate all’ — Twitter, liberals, and secular-minded people. But without the target audience present there, it just feels like all the darts are just flying blind without gravity in a spaceship.

The third set includes Union ministers who are kooing about their work as usual. As if this bright yellow knockoff is the perfect substitute for Twitter, and I’m sure for some of them it really is. BJP IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya took full advantage of the 400 character limit to lecture Twitter on how it cannot “arrogate itself the right to sit in judgment”. Malviya’s koo was liked over 3,000 times and was ‘re-kooed’ more than 600 times.

The app is also rather persistent about its own Indian image and pride, down to the ‘voice of India’ claim on its homepage. Every time you open the app, it flashes the sign ‘made with pride in India’. And every second tweet from almost any popular account you may follow includes a mention of India, Atmanirbhar Bharat, proud Indian, Indian Army, and others.

You get the trend.


Also read: Twitter should stand firm in its spat with Modi govt


Giving Twitter competition

All of this is precisely why Koo can give Twitter stiff competition in India. It is basically the social media site that every hardcore, patriotic Bharatiya citizen ever wanted. And we all know there is no shortage of those on Twitter.

Koo was founded in March 2020 by Bengaluru-based Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka. It also won the AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge organised by the government in August 2020.

According to its founder, “Koo is a platform that was formed to bring the voice of the Indian language speaker online. We truly believe in freedom of speech…In cases of life threat whether it is self-harm or threat to several lives we will abide by the law of land and will be the same irrespective of the govt in power.”

Now with the kerfuffle between the Modi government and Twitter in full swing, this principle has persuaded a lot of people.

There is a rather deliberate ecosystem being created on Koo, to break that other 70-year-old Nehruvian ecosystem. And if one is not remotely interested in any of the above, it is not the place for you.


Also read: The unconstitutionality at the heart of the government’s Twitter block order


Twitter and governments: A tale

Twitter has always had a sketchy history with governments and heads of states. One only needs to see the case of former US President Donald Trump. After using the platform as his personal whining machine for years, he now faces a lifetime ban on the site.

And with its apparent renewed focus on freedom of speech, Twitter is now embroiled in a tussle with the Indian government as well.

While Koo may never be able to surpass Twitter in terms of its reach and is most likely a fad that will fizzle out in a while, it has emerged as a rather strong rival. Much stronger than the other desi counterparts like Tooter, the series of unfortunate names notwithstanding.

Till we find out the yellow bird’s fate: “Keep kooing.”

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VIEW COMMENTS

48 COMMENTS

  1. In this infinite space…. the arrows hit you. There were hoards who tried to categorize people…. you are just one of those. Well… can’t expect more from print can we?.

  2. As u r known for THE PRINT, and the writer’s name itself is enough to understand the ideology u propagate…

    What hate and communalism u see in feeling pride to our culture… One who don’t see anything wrong on the acts of shantidoots are preaching and chanting nationalist to shut….

  3. Goodness me. After reading the comments here including from someone who names himself as a colonel on a Comments section, I felt I was on Koo. All fake and without logic.

    • Yeah after reading the article i went to koo and guess what it only has one face. Praising India ( I mean no harm in that afterall it’s our country) , praising BJP ( I found no other voice maybe there are but i spent only 20min there so can’t comment) , people flouting stupid science theories about vedic science , telling bad stuff about minorities ( mostly Muslims i mean it was obvious) , telling bad stuff about other countries , ridiculing other parties specially congress and TMC(maybe because of elections) and also the SSRians( who i still don’t understand can’t acccept that a guy suffering from mental health can commit suicide. Even CBI said no murder.)
      It looks like it is becoming an echo chamber for only one kind of voice. I just hope it doesn’t go the Parler route where people would actively advocate for violence against people they don’t like.

  4. Hahahah Hitjob as usual from theprint. The dripping hate and contempt for anything Indian in the author’s tone is amusing. Keep up the good work true to your character.

  5. Okay so you say hinduism has no right to survive? And also the author’s ass is burning when he/she came across the words “Bharath”, “Aatmanirbhar” . Great! Its no wonder Anti indian Commies and Congies are getting extinct

    • I am not a fan of this reporter. But, why do you all the word manipulation? There was not a word of hinduism and its survival rights, implicit or explicit. I support Bharat, Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India. But if the situation is as he reported, the suppression of any criticism of the ruling party, Wrong highlights of focus such as bragging about our vedas when most of them haven’t even read them.

      The loyal Supporters becoming blindly loyal is a disaster. This country will not benefit from AndhBakts. We need people who can think for themselves and the country.

      And when Bangladesh has overtaken us in GDP per capita, we need to recognise that our priorities are not right.
      Damn the Anti-Indian Commies. But what are the PRO-Indian personnel doing? I see only superficial bragging, little achievement and a slowing GDP growth rate (before COVID), rising unemployment (even before COVID) and the rise of bigotry.

      Hinduism should survive and the very attempt for the sacred cause is astounding and commendable. However, religious hatred and intolerance will only tear us apart. The Islam Invaders are not alive today. Most of the muslims hated are the descendants of the Hindus, they were converted and for the most part, forcibly. The hatred is dangerous. Hate Terrorists. Hate Anti-Nationalists. Hate people who keep this society from developing. Why hate all the muslims when most of them try to lead a normal life and when most of their prejudices are not ingrained but instilled.

      If India is to become a highly developed country that hopefully everyone wants and dreams, the focus should be on “Wealth Creation”, “Eradication of Poverty”, “Coexistence in Harmony” and a “Pride in Common Culture and Shared Identity”.

      Modi should be supported when he goes for development and delivers on his promises. Rahul should be condemned when he makes irresponsible and false statements.

      But Modi should also be questioned when he doesn’t deliver on his promises. The 1 crore jobs was never fulfilled. No one dare to ask. Especially the staunch supporters. What happened to the Make in India? Swach Bharat. Ganga Reforms. Modi’s adopted village. Did they check on what the reality is for these projects and programmes before shouting “Jai Modi!”?

      Nah. Make in India did not achieve its Goals. And I can tell with certainty. The target set in precise numbers at the beginning of the programme is not achieved. Swach Bharat had a lofty goal and it did have a bit of success, but not much. Ganga Reforms. Varnasi is beautified more than developed. The Ghats are being cleansed but they still have a good deal of waste. Sewage is still directly released into the Mother River. The concentrations of harmful substances in the River are just astounding. Govt. doesn’t tell the truth of the situation. Modi’s adopted village has become an abandoned child. Check it out if you will.

      These are the REAL ISSUES. When we don’t focus on critical internal matters and celebrate on promises, we are bound to be poor. Our ancient roots can be a source of national pride but not of complacency. Compared with the USA, China and the West, we achieved little. USA isn’t the home to the world’s oldest religion. But it is the home to the world’s best scientific community and is the centre of best technological bases and also the core of the world economy.

      We might have been the World’s most advanced civilisation, but that really amounts to and means nothing today. The only thing that matters is What are We TODAY? Are we rich in economy? Strong in Military? Influential in Culture? United internally? A Role model for the rest?

      Fellow Brothers and Sisters of Bharat, be proud of your history but DO NOT be obsessed with it. DO SOMETHING FOR THE COUNTRY. AND DO IT NOW. JAI HIND!

  6. I think that the writer should take effort to do some research and write based on facts rather than lies or at best conjecture. Its a pity that The Print which claims to be promoting the cause of true journalism is carrying this without verifying facts!

  7. When I read articles like these… it seems Hinduism has no right to thrive on this Planet.

    They want Hinduism dead – that is the end game – and they are working in that direction with great effort – and with funding from USA , UK , EU etc !

    Good job “Print”… ! You will Kill Hinduism , and I applaud you !

  8. I want to understand who this “Rachel John” is … and if she hates everything Indian, why does she live in India and use the Indian app and anything Indian?

    In what way is “KOO” “Nationalist” ? If Russians , Japanese, Americans or Koreans might have done it – this lady would have applauded the effort. Why do we always have to attack India? If we have nothing to be proud of , what nation will be built ?

    If Indians do it , it is HINDUTVA ? I would urge the Govt of India to throw out these journalists – they can go work in USA , get a VISA and get the hell out lady ! (I am not a Hindutva, nor am I a nationalist, I am just a human being ! )

  9. Have problems with words like “india” “bharat”…..You are welcome in Pakistan…Entry on two legs, exit on four shoulders.
    Shit….I forgot to turn on AdBlocker while reading this shit piece compiled by Miss Rachel. Now, you will be paid by advertisers for this shit. 😔😔😔😢😢

  10. Nothing is safe in digital world, when twitter can silence usa’s sitting president then can anybody.
    twitter, google, facebook, youtube has also become a selective media platform. so why not koo???
    the print is as usual on its work to downgrade a platform.

  11. You talking of privacy policies is quite funny and shows how ignorant you are of how internet/darpanet works .You are okay google storing your phone no,credit cards no ,through gpay .You are okay with US,chinese govt having all your data.Even the patterns of your search results ,location are stored and your personality is profiled.So much for privacy.You are really intellectually dishonest people you are literally frauds and charlatans.The problem is you are not able control the narrative and that frustates you .You are scared that a decade of modi rule will change the narrative that you controlled so long .

  12. I am Indian settled abroad. I am now on Koo since it is a good option for the biggest internet market in the world to show some spine and grow some b***s.
    I am also a fan of impartial journalism so have paid an annual subscription to The Print so that they can print some foolish articles to make me laugh at such authors (like this one!).
    Those keen to run India down will continue to do so. The Indian diaspora abroad will reconnect better with their roots through Koo which is welcome!!
    Hoping to see an Indian FB version too – started with the Indian mindset.

  13. When a technology platform declares its existence to protect human rights, it becomes a political propaganda platform. Twitter is one such platform. It’s going to loose the battle to a competitor that primarily focuses on the technology and keeps away the human rights gutter. If funded well, Koo may outsmart Twitter in India as well as other countries that have problems with Twitter’s policies.

  14. Seriously a news agency wrote an article like this ?
    1. Atmanirbhar bharat is mostly supported by right wingers.
    2. Atmanirbhar bharat is totally hated and critisized by the Marxists and Congressi.
    3. No wonder the people who like an atmanirbhar initiative will be among the first of its account holders.
    4. No wonder the haters will be seriously ass burnt witnessing a nationalist revolution.
    5. Keep your puny asses burning.

    • I agree. A nothing piece.

      Indians can’t afford to grow with low self esteem. It is essential to infuse confidence in our younger generation. Dissident voices notwithstanding. Aatmanirbar (self sufficiency) is a way of saying we can do it.
      As is the wont all matters can be convoluted by the sleight of the pen, as has been done throughout the history of mankind in recording the history.

  15. Seriously so what did u wanted on koo people like u or fake journalists and tableeghi emphatisers who wants to divide country don’t even do basic research before publishing the news.
    What did u expect???

  16. Question to Madam John – given your ideological biases, is it possible for you to write a genuine balanced article where politics comes into play?

  17. Sometimes I think Guptaji works too hard. Because the result is pieces like this. And authors such as this. If it was a slow news day, maybe Guptaji could have asked her to take the day off. But no, ek article pelna to banta hai.. dehadi ke liye hi sahi…

    • Haha…half of the problem with journalism is this. 24 hrs news cycle so little news. So few reporters on ground or aboard. Now print will be raking money but no fully paid Indian journalist in US, UK or even Pakistan, sri lanka or Singapore. Bas lake ban ke office mein baith ke stories banao.

  18. So it is true that whatsapp, telegram, twitter, koo or cock (the bird) makes little difference. It is the (wo)man on the keypad that matters

    In a society where people are reluctant to protect their heads (wear helmets only when traffic police is around), which houses the brains they refuse to use, self-regulation can take you only thus far.

    Tail piece: Self criticism may be more effective for progress rather than laying the cause of every ill at the feet of an elected Government. Democracy can’t be selective

  19. No wonder journalism is so messed up, what with its practitioners looking to reinforce their own biases and prejudices rather then seeking facts. But guess that’s too much trouble. And we are seriously supposed to pay for this.

  20. Seriously you wrote an article to inform us who is using KOO… I expected technical aspects but you wasted my 5 min. We read or see news for things which we don’t know. Why should we pay for anything which we already knew.

  21. If koo is seen and an alternate echo system then Twitter is far more radical for far left liberals who shut out opposing views and show their bias openly. So lecturing doesn’t help. Make a fair comparison

  22. After reading this piece, I am no wiser about the pros and cons of this Desi App. But now I certainly know who is having more jaundiced view about India and Hindus.

  23. Propaganda started. I didn’t see anything wrong or any thing hateful about this. Twitter is a far left and part of Oligarchy. Anyone who is still in colonial mindset or thing Britishers made India will oppose anything Indian.

  24. Sir
    Rightly so…. This article is a opinion of Mr Rachel John. I just hope THE PRINT will carry article which voice a counter opinion also.

    U know for the sake of journalistic impartiality. Or probably the comments from the promoters of the app , as a defence for this one sided opinion propogation.

  25. When we the 90s gen of full and half techies put internet on map by putting our pocket money to go to cyber cafe.. it was not for porn but power of internet which could not be co opted by rich as they were fine with things as they were and bottom 30 % who were only andolan karis who just wanted to join rich but make no change. These Jack Dawsies and Zuckerbergs have sold that dream of space for middle and it needs to be reclaimed….KOo can go to US as Twitter can come to India.

  26. dear author,

    you are comparing koo from the lens of twitter’s present which is flawed in ab initio. It is like comparing oranges with watermelon.

    Any idea or company has to start from somewhere and pass through the same cycle of evolution. For example– Even this newspaper started with few subscribers and limited readership, but now it has reached at this milestone.

    My simple point is — can we not appreciate something to atleast in starting to grow ? Once it reaches comparable stage then compare oranges with oranges.

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