“The biggest scourge of microblogging sites is automated bots, fake accounts and anonymous trolling,” said Koo co-founder and CEO Apramaya Radhakrishna via Zoom.
‘This voluntary self-verification feature is geared towards making social media safer and more real.’
Ku, the microblogging and social networking app for Indian languages, is hoping to take an up on rival Twitter Inc by allowing users to self-verify their profiles, as competition heats up for millions of first-time users.
A verified profile on social media such as Twitter and Instagram – usually marked by a badge or tick next to the profile name – gives credibility to the user because it means the service has confirmed the authenticity of the individual.
A verification badge is commonly used by celebrities and other influencers, and obtaining one can be difficult and may take weeks or months.
Self-attesters will have green ticks attached to their profiles.
The Bangalore-based startup, formally known as Bombinate Technologies Pvt, has a separate yellow tick program for eminent users and for cricketers, Bollywood stars and government ministers.
Kuo, backed by Tiger Global and Accel, said it has streamlined the process by allowing users to self-certify.
Under the new process, users link their accounts to Aadhaar, the government of India’s digital identity database, with a unique biometric number, which is used in the U.S.
Similar to a Social Security number.
They then activate the verification by sending the password to the mobile phone linked to that Aadhaar number.
It usually takes only a few minutes.
“The biggest curse of microblogging sites is automated bots, fake accounts and anonymous trolling,” said Koo co-founder and CEO Apramaya Radhakrishna, via Zoom.
“This voluntary self-verification feature is geared towards making social media safer and more genuine.” Started in March 2022, Ku has around 30 million users and the self-verification system will give credibility to the content they share.
India’s social media is rife with fake accounts, toxic content and misinformation spread on platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp.
The app is available in 10 Indian languages and a dozen more are being added as more regional users go online.
The app is also available in Nigeria, which is a testing ground for expansion overseas.
They will improve the platform’s authenticity over time and “advertisers will prefer a social network with real people, not bots,” he said.
Later this week, in another social media first, Ku plans to release his algorithm to the public.
They’ll provide insight into how Ku users find their feed, how it recommends who to follow, and how it creates hashtag trends.