Best bet of local social media apps


The recent feud between the Indian government and Twitter highlights the growing influence of social media platforms in this globalized world. The power of social media to influence public policy was unthinkable ten years ago. But the world has to live with this new reality now. In business or in society in general, monopoly domination is never desirable. Too much power in too few hands is always considered evil. Given the ability of social media to influence public opinion, it is therefore in the general interest to create more options for users. This will create effective control and balance within the ecosystem.

In this perspective, the creation of more applications made in India should be actively encouraged. Due to the Indo-Chinese border dispute last year, the central government banned around 250 Chinese apps, including the short video sharing app owned by Byte-Dance, TikTok, and the popular video game app PUBG, among others. This acted as an immediate trigger for the development of local applications in the country. Desi apps such as Chingari, Dubsmash, Roposo and many more have come to the market and have been encouragingly adopted so far. While these apps aren’t as popular as TikTok, consumers now have more choices.

Likewise, the country has also seen many local alternatives to the US-based social media giants. Twitter’s desi alternative “Koo” was widely adopted in a short period of time. Founded in 2020, the app has reached around 5.4 million downloads to date. The center is also piloting a “Sandes” social messaging application only for civil servants in order to preserve data confidentiality. The recent changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy with greater integration with Facebook have been causing a stir globally. The local social messaging app “Hike” has become an alternative to the American giant.

In addition, changes in geospatial regulations announced by the Indian government are also expected to reduce the country’s dependence on GoogleMaps soon. “MakeMyMap” has partnered with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to develop geospatial maps that can be widely used by businesses. This step will make India self-sufficient in space mapping.

These local alternatives indicate that the country can develop its own applications for users thanks to its technological prowess. The creation of such apps not only provides more choices for consumers, but also favors Indian startups, thus creating wealth and jobs.

Meanwhile, the central government has developed standards to regulate the operation of social media applications. The regulations aim to control the spread of fake news and hate speech, among other things. While the pros and cons of such regulations are debatable, there is no doubt that more applications made in India will provide more choices for consumers and reduce the need for regulations. For a democratic country like India, regulations have their own limits. If consumers have more choices, it will automatically democratize the social media ecosystem and remove any possible perverse influence from a platform.


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