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India’s Microblogging Platform Koo Shuts Down, Leaving Millions Stranded

India’s microblogging platform Koo has announced plans to shut down its services, leaving millions of users stranded. Launched in 2020 as an alternative to Elon Musk’s X, Koo prided itself on offering messaging in more than 10 Indian languages.

The platform’s founders cited a shortage of funding and high technology costs as the reasons for the decision, according to the BBC. Koo gained prominence in 2021 after several ministers endorsed it amid a dispute between the Indian government and X, which was then known as Twitter. By the end of 2021, the app had reached 20 million downloads in India.

However, Koo has struggled to secure funding in recent years. Due to these financial challenges, the platform laid off 30% of its 260-member workforce in April 2023.

Announcing the decision to shut down on Wednesday, founders Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka revealed that talks with several companies for funding did not materialize. They attributed the shutdown to the high cost of technology services.

“We explored partnerships with multiple larger internet companies, conglomerates, and media houses, but these talks didn’t yield the outcome we wanted. Most of them didn’t want to deal with user-generated content and the wild nature of a social media company. A couple of them changed priority almost close to signing,” they wrote on LinkedIn.

In 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria opened a Koo account after suspending operations of X (then Twitter) in the country following the deletion of a post by then-President Muhammadu Buhari.

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