|APrIGF 2022 Session Proposal Submission Form|
|Part 1 - Lead Organizer|
|Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *|
|Director, Public Policy and Outreach|
|Economy of Residence|
|Primary Stakeholder Group|
|Part 2 - Session Proposal|
|Koo - Empowering Users and Building Cyber Resilience|
|Where do you plan to organize your session?|
|Online only (with onsite facilitator who will help with questions or comments from the floor)|
|Specific Issues for Discussion|
|In this session, Koo will showcase its journey as a recent entrant in the social media space and its efforts to increase trust, safety and inclusion on the platform and attain what it believes to be the ideal standard for conduct for social media platforms, i.e. Koo’s Charter for a Model Social Media Intermediary. Below are the five principles of the charter and Koo’s initiatives towards each of them:
Koo’s Communities & Content: Koo’s users, many of whom are first time internet users, are given the ability to express themselves in their regional languages. Presently, Koo has 10 thriving language communities. In this context, Koo’s content moderation practices are required to appreciate and consider cultural and language nuances. Koo’s robust content moderation process uses a combination of human and AI moderation.
Recognising Eminence in Communities: In recognition of eminence, impact, stature, achievements or professional status of some users, Koo grants a Yellow Tick against the profiles of qualifying users. The qualifying criteria is transparent and published on Koo’s website.
Authenticity in Identities: Koo has enabled a voluntary self-verification feature to establish authentic digital identities and combat online harassment and trolling from anonymous accounts. Using this feature, any user from even the remotest town or village in India can create an authentic digital self and showcase this authenticity to other users.
Neutrality: Koo is clear on its role as a mere social media intermediary. To this end:
Koo does not interfere with user generated content, unless required by law.
Koo has made its algorithms public for its users to understand and customise their experience on the platform.
Koo has a transparent multilingual redressal and compliance mechanism.
Policy Enforcement: Koo has an easy-to-use Resource Center which contains all our policies in 10 Indian languages to help users post on Koo responsibly.
|Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF|
|The Internet has become an integral part of people’s lives, and social media is the most public part of an individual's private life. Social media has become an important tool by which people communicate, advocate and take in information.
For the last decade, the global social media platforms have connected a largely English-speaking audience world over. The next 800-900 million internet users will be coming from India. There was a need to not only create a platform where Indians could express themselves in Indian languages but to also create a safe experience for users on the platform.
Koo like the APrIGF is creating an open platform for its multilingual and multicultural users to engage with each other meaningfully in their regional languages, without being hindered by their inability to communicate fluently in English.
In a time when more and more people are gaining access to the internet, Koo is providing a platform for a diverse group of participants to engage in open communication. Despite the advantages, misuse and abuses on social media act as a hindrance to expressing oneself freely and safely. This makes our goals aligned with that of APrIFG and an ideal platform for us to showcase our efforts to build a safe, open, and trusted microblogging social media platform.
|Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)|
|Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)|
|Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.|
|The contributors of this session work at Koo dealing with issues of trust, safety, inclusion, and outreach.
Rajneesh Jaswal is the Head of Legal and Policy and serves as the Chief Compliance Officer at Koo. He leads and drives all policy initiates at Koo, both internally and with external stakeholders.
Phaneesh Gururaj is the Chief Technology Officer at Koo and is engaged in creating a social graph to connect millions of people, using a combination of science, engineering, design and human psychology. He likes to be in the space where Engineering is a strong enabler to the Business and likes to build strong engineering & product teams to enable the objectives. Building world class Products that impact people across all walks of life is something he is keen to be associated with.
Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka are Co-Founders of Koo and share a common vision of providing a platform for Indians, and soon the world, to express themselves in their regional languages.
|Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2022.|
|Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2022?|
|Brief Summary of Your Session|
|We showcased Koo’s journey as a recent entrant in the social media space and its efforts to increase trust, safety and inclusion on the platform. To this end, we spoke about Koo’s Charter for a Model Social Media Intermediary, i.e., the 5 fundamental principles that make an ideal social media intermediary according to Koo. These principles are: Communities & Content, Recognising Eminence in Communities, Authenticity in Identities, Neutrality and Policy Enforcement.
We spoke about how the Charter serves as the guiding principles for Koo to build platform policies and navigate difficult decisions as a social media intermediary in order to build a truly user-centric platform.
|Substantive Summary of the Key Issues Raised and the Discussion|
|Koo aims to drive trust and inclusion by building its platform and policies around the guiding principles set out in its Charter, in order to make it a truly user-centric platform.
To drive inclusion, Koo:
1. Provides a platform for its users to express their thoughts and opinions in their own regional languages. This has given millions of non-English speaking and many first time internet users access to the platform.
2. Enables users to easily find and connect with other users sharing their thoughts in the same languages and/or similar topics and/or in nearby locations.
3. Allows its users to select topics and people of interest and creates customised user feeds on that basis. Additionally, users are also given the ability to block topics that they do not wish to see.
To drive trust, Koo:
1. Has open sourced its algorithms to help users understand how their feeds are curated and experiment with it to have a personalised experience on the platform.
2. Has enabled a Voluntary Self Verification feature to allow its users to verify themselves using a government-issued identification document to create authentic digital identities. This is an effort to combat bot and spam accounts.
3. Koo’s content moderation policies are in line with local laws, i.e., keeping in mind its role and only a neutral intermediary, Koo will only moderate and remove content which is violative of local laws.
|Conclusions and Suggestions of Way Forward|
|1. Local customs and mores vary from country to country and region to region
2. Each such cultural context has a right to exist with another.
3. There should be more efforts to give space to local cultural contexts and internet tools that emerge from such contexts.
4. We appreciate the opportunity to showcase a local social media platform like Koo which is rooted in the culture and everyday life in India.
|Number of Attendees (Please fill in numbers)|
|Gender Balance in Moderators/Speakers (Please fill in numbers)|
|How were gender perspectives, equality, inclusion or empowerment discussed? Please provide details and context.|
|Koo aims to empower users from the most remote parts of India and soon the world, by giving them a platform to voice their thoughts and opinions in their own regional languages. The Koo platform is designed to build micro-communities of like minded users to view, create, share and interact with content in topics and languages of their choice. Unlike other platforms Koo intends to be a thoughts and opinions space and not just an
The platform enables users to create content in their own language. Additionally, Koo’s technologies, such as its multi-lingual Koo feature enables inclusion by letting users reach a larger audience by translating their content into other languages and broadcasting it to those language communities as well.
Koo adheres to strict Govt of India policies around CSAM and other kinds of explicit content. As Koo is based locally in India it is able to respond quickly to such requests.
|Was the Asia Pacific perspective of the topic discussed? If yes, how does it compare or contrast with local or global perspectives?|
|The Asia Pacific region especially has an immense cultural and linguistic diversity. A platform like Koo is built uniquely to cater to such diversity.
Most major social media platforms globally are built to cater to an English speaking audience. Technological tools, such as AI tools used for content moderation, are also built largely with a western context.
The Koo platform, its technologies and policies are built consciously considering cultural and language contexts in the areas in which it operates. Platforms which are local in nature are able to respond better to local cultural mores and requirements.
|I agree that my data can be submitted to forms.for.asia and processed by APrIGF organizers for the program selection of APrIGF 2022.|