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Micro-blogging website Twitter kills its Instant Messaging App before launch in India: Report

They shut the project since the versions of the app that tested out with users anonymously did not get good feedback

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FILE - The Twitter logo appears on a screen in Ventura, California. VOA

New York, December 16, 2016: To attract new users to the platform, micro-blogging website Twitter developed a standalone instant messaging app in India for emerging markets but killed the product without launching it as the company shut down its Bengaluru engineering centre that developed it, a media report claimed on Friday.

According to Buzzfeed, the stand-alone app — for which Twitter spent more than a year developing it — was intended to be an on-ramp for new users to Twitter proper.

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The app was built at Twitter’s Indian engineering centre in Bengaluru and blended tweets and instant messages in a single interface. But the company killed it in September this year when it shut down its India engineering centre, the report added.

Twitter intended to identify “influencers” around certain topics — let’s say news or politics or sports and encourage them to create groups of interest within the app.

Twitter users could chat among themselves on the app and they could also subscribe to relevant Twitter accounts whose tweets would be pulled in automatically into these groups.

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“Twitter did not have that many active users in India, so the idea was that if enough people used the instant messaging app, we could expose a lot of people to tweets without them even going to Twitter in the first place,” Buzzfeed reported, quoting a source as saying.

“Eventually, we hoped they would see the value of signing up for Twitter and directly following as many people as they wanted,” it added.

A project lead in Twitter’s Bengaluru office, who oversaw the instant messaging project, reportedly decided to shut the project since the versions of the app that Twitter tested out with users anonymously did not get good feedback.

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“It did not test out so well in the market surveys that we did with college students and I think that was one of the reasons why Twitter decided to shelve it,” the rpeort added.

Less than a week after the company announced its global layoffs at the end of October, Twitter India head, Rishi Jaitley, quit after a four-year stint.

Just a couple of days later, Parminder Singh, Twitter’s managing director for Southeast Asia, resigned too. (IANS)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Expand its Political Ads Policy in India

Twitter policy on political ad transparency to begin in India from March 11

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The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

Twitter on Monday announced to expand its political ads policy and transparency approach to include India, all European Union member states and Australia that will be operational from March 11.

Facing the heat in India over the presence of political bias on its platform, Twitter said that from March 11, only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaign ads on its service in India.

“Political advertisers must apply now for certification and go through every step of the process,” the micro-blogging platform said in a blog post.

“This is part of our overall commitment to protect the health of the public conversation on our service and to provide meaningful context around all political entities who use our advertising products,” Twitter added.

The company said it would continue to build the operational and tooling support to expand its political advertising policies to other key markets throughout 2019.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Finding itself in the midst of a controversy for not sending its CEO to appear before a parliamentary panel earlier this month, the microblogging site has said that it is “working hard” to expand its team and resources to help tackle the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Twitter was earlier accused by the government of being “slow” in removing “objectionable content” from its platform.

Also Read- Huawei May Start 5G Trial Within a Month of Indian Government’s Nod

The Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology (IT) wants to question the Twitter CEO over measures taken to ensure the safety and security of the users and allegations that the social media site is discriminating against “nationalist” posts on its platform.

The committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to appear before it on February 25 but a confirmation is yet to come from the company. (IANS)