By Srinath Srinivasan
Indian entrepreneurs today have a strong case for creating social platforms for their fellow citizens. The growing fear of data nationalism, the vacuum left by banned Chinese social media channels, and the growing need for the common Indian to voice his opinion nationally and internationally have led to the birth of a number of networking applications. social. While Indian apps are a strong alternative to American and Chinese ones, they also face a unique problem of understanding Indian sentiments and the responsibility of working together with Indian policy makers.
“Indian entrepreneurs are better positioned to understand the sentiments of various groups of people in India. They can create platforms that can first understand users better before moderating them, ”says Anurag Ramdasan, chief investment officer at 3one4 Capital. The firm has invested in Koo, which promises to project the voice of Indians globally. “If you look at it closely, only Koo’s English content is primarily political. Users in local languages mainly talk about their everyday interests and lifestyle. Twitter, by far, does not have this kind of speech, ”says Ramdasan.
However, the question is whether Indian platforms can reduce noise, gas lighting and shrillness in their posts, unlike Twitter and Facebook. It seems that Indian entrepreneurs are trying some ways to do it. Pepul, which promises to be the safest and easiest-to-use alternative to the Instagram and Facebook story format, is testing user verification for everyone and has set its own moderation rules. “First, we want the user to be real, verified and in constant contact with community members who also take on the role of moderators. Then we introduced something called ‘Karma’, which tracks the user’s good and bad activities, ”says Suresh Kumar G, Founder and CEO of Pepul. “We will not allow any kind of propaganda that hurts the feelings of others or is aimed at inciting violence.”
MYn, a content platform that aims to make proximity trading more common, provides MYn ID, a 7-digit alphanumeric ID that identifies a user on the platform. The platform takes a photograph of the user at the time of registration, which in actual use does not appear in the user’s public profile. “MYn ID and the photograph allow us to verify a user and approach their account if their content becomes abusive or is reported. Identification is your only way to log into the app. In addition, the system recalibrates and verifies the content in real time to verify its authenticity and abuse, ”says AS Rajagopal, founder and CEO of Myn.
Bharatam, who promises to be Facebook’s alternative to Noida, wants to avoid all the controversy that Facebook has gone through during its growth. “We created the application with the goal of having everything that the American and Chinese applications came with. Our teams and systems, which will moderate content and address complaints, will be located in India and not overseas. We will not share or sell user data to anyone for any reason, ”says Neeraj Bisht, founder and CEO of Bharatam.
While platforms are optimistic about keeping the founding philosophy and principles alive, the real test begins when they scale. While the government is calling on the platforms to have a conversation about making regulations, the idea of self-regulation by these platforms limits efforts.
There has been no defined self-regulatory standard that has been tried and tested to reduce chaos. Teams that uphold community standards on Facebook, Twitter, etc., sit remotely in the US and enforce their standards in other regions of the world. There is still no clear preventive approach to solving identity-based issues on these platforms. Today’s systems are based on constant feedback from users on what is good and appeals to their standards. The biggest challenge and opportunity for both the Indian government and the Indian social platforms is the same: stop working in silos and participate deeply in this feedback loop and moderation.