Two major controversies have surrounded the Koo App that is popular as an Indian Alternative for Twitter. First, as per the latest report of a known French ethical hacker, Koo is leaking the user data. Second, people have found a connection between Koo and China.
Is Koo Really Leaking User Data?
When asked about the current controversy of data leakage, Aprameya Radhakrishna(CEO and co-founder of the Koo app) said that the company is not monetizing hence there is no truth in share the data with third parties. So the data is safe. We will continue innovation and will try to find out a way to monetize without risking users’ data.
As per the company’s terms of services updated on Janauary 1,2021, the company has a full right to use the users’ information but it will never share the information with third parties without the prior permission of the users. The company also reserves the right to delete, destroy and keep all the information shared over the platform.
However, Ethical Hacker Elliot Alderson has something else to share. Though he never used Koo but found that the microblogging site is leaking user data like date of birth, email, name, address, and others. Alderson is known for finding the flows in Aadhaar and Arogya Setu app owned by the Indian Government.
You asked so I did it. I spent 30 min on this new Koo app. The app is leaking of the personal data of his users: email, dob, name, marital status, gender, … https://t.co/87Et18MrOg pic.twitter.com/qzrXeFBW0L
— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) February 10, 2021
Koo CEO also clarified through the tweet:
Some news about data leaking being spoken about unnecessarily. Please read this:
The data visible is something that the user has voluntarily shown on their profile of Koo. It cannot be termed a data leak. If you visit a user profile you can see it anyway
— Aprameya R (@aprameya) February 11, 2021
Koo is Chinese?
Another controversy related to the app is the China connection. While the company claims to be the Indian Registered one but the domain name of the company is registered under a Chinese national. Some media portals also claimed that the investors of the Koo app belong to China.
Radhakrishna clarified through his tweet that Koo is purely an Indian Registered Company with Indian founders. Bombinate Technologies is the parent company of Vokal and Koo. Vokal is an online platform based on a question/answer database. It provides users answers in the Indian local language. Shunwei, a Chinese investor, has invested in Vokal but he will exit fully. All the recent investment is from India.
It is known that there is some disagreement between the Government of India and Twitter over certain policies and working style. Indian Government requested Twitter to take down more than 1000 accounts from its platform for different reasons. Twitter clearly told that it will not remove all those accounts. Koo became popular recently when most of the Indian Government Ministers started using koo app and they also requested their followers to join the same platform.
Koo has welcomed more than 3 million users on its platform since the launch in March 2020.