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What is Tooter and Why is Twitter Talking About the 'Swadeshi' Social Networking Site?

Tooter. Image credits: Twitter.

Tooter. Image credits: Twitter.

Twitterati on Tuesday stumbled upon a new social network site called 'Tooter' which boasts to be a 'Swadeshi Andolan 2.0'.

Tooter: A person or device that toots; a person who plays upon a pipe or horn.
Tooter: A straw used to inhale cocaine.

On Tuesday, Twitter users found a new toy to play around with called “Tooter“– a “Swadeshi social network” that seems to have been conceptualised with an aim to fill the void of a true Indian social networking site.

With the exact colour scheme as that of American microblogging site Twitter, Tooter’s logo is not a bird but a conch shell.

A quick glance at the website’s “About” section explains the purpose of the new social networking platform.

“We believe that India should have a Swadeshi social network. Without one we are just a digital colony of the American Twitter India Company, no different than what we were under the British East India Company. Tooter is our Swadeshi Andolan 2.0. Join us in this Andolan. Join us!”

Once you sign up on the website, Tooter makes you follow the creator of the website (along with other accounts) Nanda with handle @nanda, a profile of whom exists on Twitter, a report in Live Mint stated.

Nanda’s Twitter bio reads: “CEO, Tooter Pvt Ltd. A Swadeshi Social Network. Users with over 5K followers, make some money promoting Tooter. Email admin@tooter.in for details or DM me.”

Journalist Venkat Ananth (@venkatananth), in a tweet thread, also pointed out the verified handles of prominent Indian celebrities that already exist on the Tooter platform. PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Virat Kohli, Abhishek Bachchan, Kiran Bedi, Smriti Irani, Rahul Gandhi, Dhoni to name a few.

Another Twitter user suggested that Tooter may have been functional since August, the same time around when social network’s creator Nanda had tweeted a video that gave him the “inspiration” to come up with Tooter. Many others complained that they were unable to sign up on the platform.

Netizens, upon stumbling upon Tooter, had a hard time digesting the desi Twitter clone.

The app comes after a similar social media platform called ‘Parler’, launched in 2018, started gaining popularity in the United States, especially among supporters of United States President Donald Trump, ultra-coservatives and members of the far-right. The platform is being seen as a place for unbridled free speech with posts often bordering on or directly promoting or defending far-right and conservative elements like homophobia, antisemitism, bigotry and racism.

With the ever-growing ban on products especially those from China, homegrown app developers have been blessed with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create social media platforms and apps that are clocking millions of downloads in the country.

Will Tooter replace Twitter? Only time will tell.

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