Koo denies data leak, says email exposure ‘fixed’


2021-02-12 02:31:22

BENGALURU: Amid rising downloads, homegrown social media app Koo found itself in the middle of some controversies involving a Chinese investor as well as a data security breach issue — charges that the company sought to defend itself against.
Robert Baptiste, who tweets from his pseudonym account on Twitter ‘Elliot Alderson’, had flagged concerns, saying profile data of users with information on their gender, date of birth, marital status and other details were available publicly along with email IDs of some users.
Reacting to the allegations, Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna said the profile data in question was “voluntarily” disclosed on the platform, and it can’t be termed a ‘data leak’.

“On email IDs, yes it was visible and we have fixed it today. In the regional market (social media), no one logs in via email. And log-in through mobile number is default. Email option was asked by corporates and we enabled it around three months ago, but it was about 4% of the total user base,” he said. Radhakrishna added that phone numbers are protected and not available for anyone to see.
Asked about links with a Chinese investor, he said Shunwei Capital, the venture capital arm of Xiaomi, didn’t participate in Koo’s fund-raise last week when it got a little over $4 million. Bombinate Technologies is the parent firm which houses Koo and Vokal (a Quoralike platform).
“Shunwei had invested in Vokal and they are being bought out. It was intentional. We have top Indian entrepreneurs investing in our firm, buying out Shunwei stake. It was already in process (before the user surge in the last two days),” he said.

These entrepreneurs include names like Ashish Hemrajani of BookMyShow, Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha, and Sujeet Kumar of Udaan. Koo’s parent firm investors like 3one4 Capital, Accel Partners and Blume Ventures are also buying out parts of Shunwei’s single-digit stake in the company. “It is a clear indication that the company is getting more and more Indian money in,” Koo said in a separate statement.



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