New Delhi: An Indian version of the microblogging platform Twitter has found its way to netizens on Tuesday. Named ‘Tooter’ it is mostly gaining traction for identifying itself as a Swadeshi social network which is ‘Made in India’. It also has a similar interface as that of American site Twitter, with a white-and-blue colour scheme and boasts to be ‘Swadeshi Andolan 2.0’. Also Read - Over 300 Twitter Handles Generated From Pakistan to Disrupt Farmers' Tractor Rally, Claims Delhi Police
The platform appears to have been active since June-July, but it went viral on Twitter only today and that’s how people began talking about this. One Twitter user even called ‘Tooter’ as the Indian Parler. For those who are unaware, Parler is an American micro-blogging site launched in 2018 which claims to be all about free speech. It has a significant user base of US President Donald Trump’s supporters, American conservatives, conspiracy theorists, anti-Semitists, who feel platforms like Twitter and Facebook are biased against them. Also Read - Kangana Ranaut Shames Swara Bhasker With a 'Crass' Meme, She Replies With a 'Classy' Tweet
Here are 10 things that will tell you more about this Swadeshi social networking site: Also Read - Twitter Suspends Account of Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei For Tweet Against Trump
1. Tooter follows the same mechanics as that of Twitter, where a user can create an account with a @username and email address, follow other accounts, read through a feed populated with posts from other accounts, as well as customise groups and lists.
2. Tooter has a web application as well as an Android app on the Google Play store, but is missing from App Store for iOS devices as of now.
3. Just like your Twitter posts are called ‘tweets’, if you post on Tooter it will be known as ‘‘toots’.
4. Tooter’s logo is not a bird but a blue conch shell.
5. The main purpose behind this ‘swadeshi’ social networking site is mentioned in its “About” section. It says, “We believe that India should have a Swadeshi social network. Without one we are just a digital colony of the American Twitter India Company, no different than what we were under the British East India Company. Tooter is our Swadeshi Andolan 2.0. Join us in this Andolan. Join us!” The page also claims that Tooter Pvt Ltd is based in Plot No 48, SriCity, Barugudem in Khammam, Telangana.
5. Tooter appears to already have a number of prominent users including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Kiran Bedi, Smriti Irani, Rahul Gandhi, Sadhguru and other Indian celebrities like actor Abhishek Bachchan, and cricketer Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni among other famous personalities who already have verified accounts. The BJP also has an official account on Tooter. However, there is no official statements from any of these people yet.
6. As per a Livemint report, the prominent personalities might not be tooting on Tooter themselves, as there toots are an exact copy of their tweets on their verified Twitter profiles. The report said, “When one checks the source code, it would appear that Tooter is scraping the data of prominent Indians from Twitter.”
7. When one signs up on Twooter, it automatically follows three profiles–R Vaidyanathan (rvaidya2000), Nanda (who is the CEO of Tooter Pvt Ltd) and a verified handle called ‘News’. And, according to a Livemint report, the news handle appears to post stories only by Swarajya India – a prominent right-wing website – and appears to be copying its tweets in the exact same chronology.
8. Tooter also promises to strive by the ‘First Amendment’ as envisaged by the US Constitution that protects freedom of speech, religion and the press. It states, “We strive to ensure that the First Amendment remains the Website’s standard for content moderation. We will make best efforts to ensure that all content moderation decisions and enforcement of these terms of service does not punish users for exercising their God-given right to speak freely.”
9. Tooter also offers an upgraded version called ‘TooterPro’ which costs Rs 1000 per year. However, it is nowhere mentioned how and where one can make the payment for upgradation. But it is not clear what the Pro version actually has to offer.
10. Tooter also collects a user’s email address, the content of the user’s profile; information about one’s internet connection and also the equipment a user uses to access the website and usage details. But, it also appears to say, “it is the policy of the Company to not provide any user data to any person unless compelled by a court order issued by a US court, except in cases of life-threatening emergency.”