Characterizing Latest Indian Microblogging Platform Koo

IIIT Delhi students conducted a study on Koo - Indian microblogging platform that uses local languages.

A team of students from IIIT Delhi have recently conducted a study on India’s local language microblogging platform, Koo, characterising the platform in terms of its user demographics, content and network properties. During the study, the three students, namely Asmit Kumar Singh, Chirag Jain and Rishi Raj Jain examined 4 million user accounts under the guidance of Professor Ponnurangam Kumaraguru. This is joint work with Jivitesh Jain and Shradha Sehgal, students from the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad.

The team from IIIT Delhi found that the app garnered new users in droves during the first two months of 2021. Nearly 50 per cent of the 4 million users had joined the app in this duration. The largest peak was around 10 February when the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology posted about Koo. Following this, several prominent government figures joined the platform. The researchers noted that there was a rise in users around August of last year as well when Koo was conferred with the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge Award.

In simple terms, compared to Twitter users, Koo users are better interconnected with each other. Clustering is an important property of social networking platforms, as friends of one user are likely to be friends with each other as well. A high local clustering coefficient, therefore, indicates that the communities on Koo are stronger (0.561) as compared to those on Twitter (0.072) during its early years in 2009. The study also showed that 92.1 per cent of the profiles where gender was specified belonged to males, whereas female profiles only accounted for 7.5 per cent of the aggregate. 0.36 per cent identified themselves as other genders. However, the female users had more followers on average as compared to male profiles – the ratio being 5.04. Koo has been designed to promote dialogue in Indian languages and Hindi has emerged as the most preferred language on the platform – with over 1.7 million users had Hindi in their profile, 3.7 million posts, the Koo Hindi handle has more than 1.8 million followers. It is then followed by English, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bangla, Malayalam, Assamese, Punjabi and Oriya, in this particular order. The study observed that the users on Koo showed a tendency to follow other users who communicated in the same language as them. For instance, according to figure 14 of the study, amongst the verified users, Kannada-speaking users mostly had Kannada-speaking connections. It could very well explain why Koo is showing a stronger network as compared to Twitter. 

Keeping Indian languages in mind, authors have published summary videos on English, Telugu and Hindi.  

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