Peepul – Mahindra’s Swadeshi Social Network Will Be Data-Friendly

Roughly 270 million Indians use Facebook every month, amounting to the highest hits in any country.

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Tech and Auto
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After Facebook’s giant breach of trust, Anand Mahindra is rethinking the need for a substitute for the social media giant and he is ambitious. 
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Facebook’s recent trouble over the safety of user data has opened up opportunities for other companies to build their own social media platforms, with Anand Mahindra taking special note.

Roughly 270 million Indians use Facebook every month, amounting to the highest hits in any country.

After Facebook’s giant breach of trust, Mahindra is exploring the need for an alterantive to the social media giant and he is ambitious. The chairman of the $19 billion business conglomerate had, at the time of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytics scandal, raised the question of whether the time had come for a Facebook alternative.

He was serious. Anand Mahindra’s tweet was followed by a tweet from Jaspreet Bindra, Senior Vice President of Digital Transformation in Mahindra Group, suggesting blockchain-based social networking, to which Mr Mahindra gave the nod.

Three weeks later, Anand Mahindra announced the creation of the app’s Twitter handle – @peepul_social.

The next day, on 24 April, the twitter handle of the developing app announced the social networking app.

“A new kind of social network not limited to India or Indians, but one created by Indian teams,” it tweeted.

The app is still in the works. On 4 June, Anand Mahindra tweeted about his meeting with the Peepul team. He said that they are now clear about the core and guiding principles of the ‘new-age’ Social Network they are trying to build.

Had a good meeting today on Peepul. We’re now very clear about the core, guiding principles of this new-age Social Network that we’re going to try to build. Sound very fuzzy and abstract, but they will set the non-negotiable context for its structure.
Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group

Anand Mahindra was replying to a tweet from the Peepul handle, calling the app a democratic one, just like our country.

Talking to Inc42 in April itself, Bindra said that there is a trust issue with everything being centralised with a single company and data is at risk. He strongly believes these issues can be fixed with blockchain technology but the question is whether the existing blockchain technology is competent enough to address this.

Will It Work?

The likelihood of the Peepul app overtaking Facebook is as bleak as it sounds. Many tech giants have tried their hands at making their own social media platforms. Google+ was created to become Google’s answer to Facebook, but it never took off. People were just not willing to let go of Facebook.

If you look for it, the internet is filled with dead social media apps, but Facebook has held its own. 

The fact that India has more than 270 million active users – the highest in any country – could work in favour of the Mahindra app. A user base anywhere close to that number should be considered fairly successful, coming from a company that is not known for its internet presence.

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