Nigerian Government Replaces Twitter with Koo
The Nigerian government has joined Koo, an Indian microblogging platform as a replacement for Twitter, with which it has been engaged in scuffles for a week now.
The government created its official account on 10 June 2021.
The Nigerian Government’s verified account on Koo is ‘Government of Nigeria’ @nigeriagov.
Koo co-founder and CEO, Aprameya Radhakrishna, announced in a post that “The official handle of the government of Nigeria is now on Koo!”, adding that “Koo is available in Nigeria. We’re thinking of enabling the local languages there too. What say?”
Radhakrishna also wrote: “A very warm welcome to the official handle of the Government of Nigeria on @kooindia! Spreading wings beyond India now”.
Why did Nigeria ban Twitter?
Nigeria’s decision to suspend Twitter in the country reportedly came as a result of the US-based social networking platform deleting a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari for violating rules. The Nigerian government had alleged that the microblogging site was being used to undermine “Nigeria’s corporate existence” through the spreading of fake news that has “violent consequences”.
What was the reaction to Twitter being banned?
Even within Nigeria, there were sections that opposed the suspension of Twitter for violation of fundamental right to freedom of speech. In a statement, Twitter had said: “We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world.”
However, former US President Donald Trump, whose account has been suspended by Twitter, congratulated Nigeria for banning Twitter and said more countries should do so. “More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech — all voices should be heard. In the meantime, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they themselves are evil? Perhaps I should have done it while I was President. But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was. 2024?” TechCrunch quoted him as saying.
What does this mean for Koo?
The Nigerian government’s decision to join Koo after banning Twitter reinforces its position as an alternative platform to Twitter.
According to the Indian Express, even in India, the progress of Koo came in the backdrop of the Indian government’s several disagreements with Twitter. In the last almost six months, the Centre asked Twitter to remove several tweets and suspend accounts it deemed unlawful. Twitter did not comply with these requests on all occasions leading to friction between the two sides.
According to the government, Twitter is also yet to comply with India’s new IT rules for digital media intermediaries. Last month, Koo announced a $30-million fundraise from marquee investors including Tiger Global at a time Indian authorities were turning the heat on Twitter. The fund-raise saw Koo’s valuation jump nearly five-fold to $100 million.
There are reports that Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami, and his counterpart for information and culture, Lai Mohammed, would be leading talks Twitter on the modalities to allow it recommence its operations in the Nigerian cyberspace.
Mohammed had claimed that Twitter reached out to authorities in Nigeria in an attempt to reconcile with the country and find a way to lift the ban.
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