Indian Twitter rival Koo will let users self-verify – TechCrunch

Indian social media app Koo introduced a voluntary self-verification service for its users on Wednesday in an unusual step that it believes will bring credibility and trust to its platform.

The Bangalore-based startup said users of its platform will have the option to self-verify their profiles “in seconds” using their government-approved identity cards. The feature is designed to improve speech quality and curb bad stuff like spammers, bots, and anonymous trolling, Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told TechCrunch in an interview.

A group of users tend to contribute negatively on social media platforms because there is no way for people to hold them accountable, Radhakrishna explained.

Users who verify themselves will get a green verification marker next to their name when they comment on a post. “This will mentally give your opinion more weight in a conversation,” she said, adding that posts and comments from verified users may eventually rank higher on the platform.

On social media platforms, a verification badge is usually reserved for celebrities and other influential public figures, making it a coveted feature. Users will be able to verify themselves by linking their accounts to a unique biometric number from New Delhi’s Aadhaar digital identity database. They will receive a one-time password to their Aadhaar-registered phone number for authentication.

Radhakrishna said the startup will work with a third-party company to verify users and will not store user IDs. This will prevent the startup from being in a position to share users’ personal data with law enforcement agencies, he said in response to a question.

The move is also positioning Koo, which operates in 10 Indian languages ​​and has been downloaded more than 30 million times, to become a more attractive platform among advertisers as they will have the option to reach only those users who have signed up. verified.

No other social media platform anywhere in the world has taken such a step, said the startup, which counts Tiger Global, Mirae Asset, Blume Ventures, Accel and 3one4 Capital among its backers.

“Users can self-verify in less than 30 seconds through our safe and secure verification process. This is a big step towards giving users more authenticity and promoting responsible behavior on the platform. Most social networks only grant this power to some accounts. Koo is the first platform that has now allowed all users to have the same privilege,” she said.

The announcement is part of a broader attempt by Koo to proactively address the challenges that established social media companies Twitter and Facebook have faced. Later this week, Koo also plans to publish the inner workings of its algorithms, including how it ranks posts to help lawmakers better understand the platform and build more trust in it.

The platform, which has attracted a number of Indian politicians on the platform in the past year, allows users to reach a large number of users by cross-posting their thoughts in multiple languages.

Radhakrishna also said that Koo is evaluating new ways, including web3, to monetize on the platform.

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