Twitter’s position as the platform where the news breaks might be under threat.
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has shared a video on Twitter a full 25 minutes after sharing it on Koo. “Successful speed trial of 120 kmph completed on the Kalaikunda – Jhargram route in West Bengal. This will improve movement of raw materials and agricultural goods, as well as travel efficiency within the Howrah – Mumbai route,” he wrote on Koo at 9:31 pm, while attaching a video of a train zooming past a station.
It was only at 9:56 pm — a full 25 minutes later — that Goyal shared the same tweet on his Twitter account. To add insult to injury, he linked the Koo video as well. “Watch on Koo,” the tweet concluded.
This could perhaps be the first major instance of a prominent public figure in India first sharing an update on a platform other than Twitter, and only following up with a Twitter update a while later. Thanks to all manner of politicians, celebrities, actors and cricketers being on Twitter, news updates are usually first shared on Twitter, from where they make their way to other platforms.
Piyush Goyal’s tweet speaks volumes about how serious the government of India might be in its effort to wean off its dependence on Twitter. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has already made accounts on Koo, and Ministers Ravishankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal have also joined the platform. If prominent government ministers could start sharing crucial updates on Koo before Twitter, it would leave journalists of all political persuasions no option to join the Made-in-India microblogging site, and wrest control of the breaking news genre from Twitter.
And it is perhaps for the best. Twitter had adamantly refused to accede to the government’s requests to ban accounts that were promoting real-world violence, and claimed that it was promoting free speech. While there are murmurs that Twitter might end up getting banned in India, prominent government ministers seem to be making sure that it loses its stranglehold on breaking news — and simultaneously creating a Made-In-India alternative — before that happens.