With reports reaching us, well, than a week after banning American microblogging site Twitter indefinitely, the Nigerian government has joined its India-made rival Koo.
Shortly after the ban, Koo had announced that it was available in Nigeria and was working to add local languages on its platform.
Well, 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”.
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.
The Nigerian government’s decision to join Koo after banning Twitter reinforces its position as an alternative platform to Twitter. 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.
In a tweet announcing the Nigerian government’s arrival, Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna wrote: “A very warm welcome to the official handle of the Government of Nigeria on @kooindia! Spreading wings beyond India now”.