iWorld

Meet Tooter, the 'swadeshi' alternative to Twitter

In its TOS, Tooter says that it has been created for 'free speech'.

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NEW DELHI: As the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative putters on and gathers steam, some enterprising individuals have seized the chance to create a swadeshi alternative to Twitter, one of the most popular microblogging platforms in India. Named Tooter (sound familiar?), the social network calls itself the “Swadeshi Andolan 2.0.” In look and feel, it appears to be modelled after Twitter and follows the same mechanics as its source of inspiration.

Just like one shoots off tweets on Twitter, users of Tooter can post ‘toots’. Users have a profile, can make lists, scroll down a news feed, follow people, and be followed back. Even the colour palette and app icon – a blue conch shell – bear a striking resemblance to Jack Dorsey’s brainchild.

In its Terms of Service, Tooter stresses that it has been created for 'free speech'. The platform declared it will make the best efforts to ensure that all content moderation decisions and enforcement of terms of service "does not punish users for exercising their god-given right to speak freely."

Tooter can be used on web browsers, and it has an Android app on the Google Play store, but is missing from the App Store for iOS devices as of now.

What's more, Tooter is already home to a number of high-profile faces. Prime minister Narendra Modi is already there with a verified account; home minister Amit Shah, Amitabh Bachchan, Virat Kohli, Sadhguru, and the Bharatiya Janata Party are also on the platform. It seems the site has been live since July 2020, but it’s only recently that Tooter went viral on Twitter, the social network it’s hoping to give a run for its money.

So it should come as no surprise that Tooter’s sudden popularity has catalysed Twitterati to do what they’re the best at – making memes. Some pointed out, tongue-in-cheek, the uncanny similarities between Twitter and Tooter…

…Others wondered if certain noisy elements will leave the US-based platform in favour of the Swadeshi alternative:

Though it’s perhaps this person who summed it up best:

While it will be interesting to see whether Tooter makes it in the long run, or fizzles out like Kimboh, the desi counterpart to WhatsApp, for the moment it has succeeded in creating a buzz.

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