Indian microblogging site Koo announced “voluntary self-verification” for users on its platform on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, where users can self-authenticate their accounts with government-approved identity cards.
The platform, which competes with Twitter, said the move will allow users to prove the authenticity of their accounts on the platform, giving credibility to the thoughts and opinions they share.
“Voluntary self-verification promotes the visibility of real voices. A visible green tick mark identifies an account as self-verified,” it added.
The move comes amid ongoing discussions about whether or not to conduct user authentication on social media platforms to curb abuse and accountability. The issue was also raised at Parliament’s ongoing budget session as a means of preventing user harm and the spread of fake news. During the session, State Minister for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrashekar had said that the government is interested in balancing privacy issues with the interests of security and trust, and “mandatory verification” of social media platforms falls at the intersection of the two. †
Currently, there is no law or regulation that allows mandatory authentication of users using the social media platforms.
For voluntary verification, Koo said users must enter their government ID number and a one-time password (OTP). After successful authentication, they are self-verified with a green check mark in their profile.
The platform stated: “The validation process is performed by government-authorized third parties. Koo would not store any information in the process. In addition to empowering users on the platform, voluntary self-verification — by promoting authenticity — will hopefully also reduce online disinformation, hate speech, abuse and bullying.”
“We are very proud to be the first social media platform in the world to launch a voluntary self-verification system. Users can authenticate themselves in less than 30 seconds through our secure verification process,” said Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-Founder and CEO of Koo.