Koo plans oversight board for direction on content moderation in select ‘grey areas’

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May 04, 2021 7:15 PM

It had 20 members that included former judges, journalists and human rights activists. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, the vice-chancellor of National Law School of India University was also among the chosen members.

KooKoo has about 60 lakh users on its platform.

Twitter rival Koo on Tuesday said it is working on setting up an oversight board that will provide direction in content moderation while dealing with ‘grey areas’ in select cases.

The oversight board, which is expected to be operational in the next few months, is likely to have 3-4 members to begin with, Koo co-founder Aprameya Radhakrishna told PTI.

The move comes at a time when social media companies are trying to balance takedown requests related to content deemed harmful, while upholding freedom of speech of users on their platforms.

“We are planning an oversight board or consulting board which will look at particular cases that come and (they will) help us decide (on the course) for the future. It won’t be that every case goes to them…but if there are grey areas on what we can do now, and what we can do in the future…that would be the approach,” Radhakrishna said.

He added that the board will include eminent members from various sections of the society.

Last year, social media giant Facebook had set up an independent body called the Oversight Board to look into hate speech and other undesirable content on its platform.

It had 20 members that included former judges, journalists and human rights activists. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, the vice-chancellor of National Law School of India University was also among the chosen members.

Koo, which was launched last year, has seen a massive surge in its user base over the past few months after Union ministers and government departments endorsed the homegrown microblogging platform following a spat with Twitter.

Koo has about 60 lakh users on its platform. Twitter, on the other hand, has 1.75 crore users in India.

Stating that the proposed consulting board will be in place in the ‘next few months’, Radhakrishna said that only a few cases that fall in the ‘grey area’ are likely to come before it.

He explained that the platform – which currently gets about 2-3 million Koos a month – is likely to see only a select few cases in the realm of ‘grey area’ over a period of time.

These could be referred to the consulting board for their views and advice on the future course in terms of handling such content, he added.

“Anything black and white and what we have learnt in the past, will be handled by the guidelines we have already published. If some case misses the guidelines, (where) we haven’t thought of the scenario, and we don’t know what the right stance is or what needs to be done, those cases will go to the advisory board,” Radhakrishna said.

Koo, founded by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, was launched last year to allow users to express themselves and engage on the platform in Indian languages. It supports multiple languages including Hindi, Telugu and Bengali, among others.

Earlier this year, Koo had raised USD 4.1 million in series A funding from Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream Incubator, and 3one4 Capital.

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