Udayavni Special

India among top markets for Clubhouse within weeks of launch

PTI, Jun 4, 2021, 8:23 AM IST

New Delhi: India features among the top markets for Clubhouse within weeks of the launch of the voice-based social networking app in the country, according to senior company officials.

The platform, which launched its Android version and expanded to the Indian market last month, also said it will work towards following the recently announced social media rules in the country.

”India is obviously not a single community but many communities all across India and it is one of our top markets now as a whole. The really exciting thing is seeing people within India meeting people from other parts of India, (and) seeing people all over the world connect with Indian rooms, users and content,” Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison told reporters in a virtual briefing.

Within weeks of the Android launch, the invite-only platform has reached over two million users base.

Clubhouse, however, did not disclose the number of users it has in India.

The company has roped in former Facebook executive Aarthi Ramamurthy as Head (International).

Asked about his views on the recently announced social media rules in India, Davison said the company is still small in terms of staff strength but remains committed to following them.

”…our goal is to work to ensure that the platform is in line with the country’s laws and regulations. And so that’s absolutely on our radar and something we’ll be working towards,” he added.

The new rules for social media companies, which came into effect from last month, mandate social media platforms to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them.

Under the new rules, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography etc.

The Centre had said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

Talking about the company’s privacy policy, Davison said its general philosophy is to try to collect as little data as possible.

”…we have a temporary encrypted buffer of the audio that lasts for the duration of the room. If someone reports a trust and safety incident, then that audio is taken and sent to the Trust and Safety Team and is used solely for the purpose of the investigation… in the vast majority of cases, there are no incidents reported within a room, and in those cases, the audio is not saved after the room ends,” he explained.

He noted that the company looks at trust and safety and moderation along three dimensions — people, policies and the product.

Davison pointed out that the moderators of rooms have control over who they want to allow to speak or even block.

Clubhouse co-founder Rohan Seth said the company is also aggressively working on monetisation plans and will look at adding various options like payments, subscription, ticketing and tipping.

”The main thing we want to make sure is that we are covered both from a compliance point of view and user experience point of view… It’s only about a week or so that we scaled payments in the US and we are still gathering feedback, we want to make sure the experience is good and then we are going to aggressively plan to scale internationally and if I had to guess, India would be one of the first few markets we would want to do that,” he said.

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