Tooter a newly launched social media network, where users can post short messages, called ‘Toots’ has sparked several discussions on Twitter, because of its stark similarities to the micro blogging platform.
Users can sign-up for Tooter with their email like for any other social media platform and post short messages, which can contain text, pictures, videos, etc.
The launch of the app also coincides with the rumors and speculations of #TwitterBan in India, after Twitter mistakenly showed Leh as a part of China in its geolocation service.
Thereafter, Twitter sent a written apology to the parliamentary panel subjecting this issue in the form of an affidavit signed by Damien Karien, Chief Privacy Officer of Twitter Inc, as per a report.
The app presently has over 10K+ downloads on Play Store and a 4.5 rating by 2K reviews (to date). Critical reviews mention several bugs in the app, most prominent being login and sign-up issues along with problems with the confirmation mails. Positive reviews cite they are happy to see a “Swadeshi” platform, but the app needs further development and a name change.
While Tooter is a duplicate of the micro-blogging platform Twitter in every sense – from the functionalities, UI, the white-blue palette, and even the name, the only difference is Tooter proposes itself as a “Swadeshi social network” and highlights the “Made In India” notion by making it the focal selling point.
In its About Page, the platform mentions, “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”.
According to the information on Play Store, the app is owned by Tooter Pvt Ltd, and the address on the developer contact tab locates them to Telangana, India.
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But the app is not completely “Swadeshi”. Tooter is originally forked from the Mastodon project, a free and open-source self-hosted social networking service, that allows anyone to host their own server node in the network. Mastodon has been developed by Eugen Rochko, a German software developer.
Forking is to take the source code from an open-source software program (in this case Mastodon) and develop an entirely new program. Mastodon has microblogging features similar to Twitter and several companies have previously forked out platforms from the software.
Well, apart from its proposition, users had more to discuss the app’s similarities with Twitter, which they conveyed through political commentary and the language they are most fluent in – memes.