Koo has a ‘stronger network’ than its bigger rival Twitter, says study

India’s local language microblogging platform Koo has stronger networks compared to Twitter, a new study has found. Currently available in seven languages, Koo hit headlines last month when ministers and political leaders said they were going to move to the country’s homegrown microblogging platform.

“The Koo network has a noticeably high local clustering coefficient of 0.561, that represents how well connected the neighbourhood of a vertex is. This indicates a strong modular structure in the network, presumably due to Koo only catering to audiences from a single country. In contrast, Twitter, which caters to worldwide audiences, only had an average local clustering coefficient of 0.072 during its early years in 2009, indicating much weaker communities,” said the study, titled “Koo: The new king? Characterising India’s emerging social network”.

According to network scientist Jérôme Kunegis, clustering is an important property of social networks, as people tend to have friends who are also friends with each other, resulting in sets of people among which many common people existHe further explains that the clustering coefficient is a real number between zero and one that is zero when there is no clustering, and one for maximum clustering.

The current study was undertaken by students Asmit Kumar Singh, Chirag Jain, Rishi Raj Jain, and professor Ponnurangam Kumaraguru from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi and Jivitesh Jain and Shradha Sehgal from the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, examined 4 million users on Koo.

The study found that the app saw an influx of users in August 2020, around the time it won the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge Award. However, of the 4 million users that the study analysed, 1.9 million joined Koo in the first two months of 2021 alone .The app, which was earlier called “Ku Koo Ku,” claims to have a total of 4.7 million users as of this week.

The major spike in users was seen around 10 February 2021, when the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology posted a tweet promoting Koo, and many prominent government figures started joining the platform.

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Gender dynamics

Of the 18.1 per cent of the users who specified their gender on their profile on Koo, 92.1 per cent, or 699,083, identified as male, while only 7.5 per cent, or 58,996, identified as female and 0.36 per cent or 3,236 identified as others.

However, female users were found to be more active, in terms of the number of average likes at 103.6 and average rekoos at 21.7. Female users also, on average, have more followers at 632.9 compared to male users with an average of 117.0 followers and users identifying with the other category with an average of 283.45 followers.

Language dynamics

The study examined 75,091 user profiles with location information, and Bengaluru was the most frequently mentioned city with 141,469 users. Notably, 44.2 per cent users use Hindi while 51.2 per cent post content in the language, followed by English language users at 23.8 per cent and 25.9 per cent of content are the most popular languages.

Top mentions and likes

Top mentions of the profiles on the platform were not all well known names, unlike These were television news channel Republic, followed by Minister of IT and telecom Ravi Shankar Prasad, profiles called kisanektamorcha, ErpENlk_BArt, piyushgoyal, mayank, and leledirect.com.

Another study conducted by University of Michigan’s Arshia Arya, Dibyendu Mishra, Joyojeet Pal in February, called “Koo and the attempt to create a ‘nationalist Twitter’,” had examined the political and network effects of the new platform.

“It is also important that while Koo is currently dominated by accounts strongly aligned with the BJP, this was not the case earlier. This new-found homophily in the Koo crowd arguably served as a driver of early engagement, though in the longer run, this risks becoming an echo chamber,” the study’s authors had noted.

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