A new social networking platform 'hello', set up by the founder of the once-popular Orkut, has announced its entry into the Indian market amid the controversy surrounding users' data data breach at Facebook.

hello has been founded by Orkut Buyukkokten, who was also the founder of good-old Orkut that once was once a leading social networking website in India and Brazil. Orkut Buyukkokten is a Turkish software engineer. He developed Orkut social network as an independent project while working at Google.

Notably, even up till 2009 Orkut was leading social network in India. Orkut eventually shut down its services in 2014, having lost its popularity to rivals like Facebook.

"If you look at social media today, it has isolated people instead of bringing them closer. It has become more about broadcasting than sharing. We need a fresh start. Hello is built around interest-based communities where users with same interests can connect, leading to true connections," Buyukkokten said.

With hello, the aim is to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections and sustained social engagement, added Buyukkokten

"We started in Brazil in July 2016... About 35,000 users were a part of our beta testing in the Indian market. Orkut was huge in India and I'm delighted to say hello to India once again," he said.

The hello app is available for download on App Store and Google Play. hello is currently available only in beta.

When asked about the monetisation model, Buyukkokten said the company "does not have to sell user data to get revenues".

"When a user signs up, they are asked about five things that they are passionate about and then get recommendations that are non-intrusive. We also ensure that every advertiser has a profile on hello (for greater accountability)," he said, adding that no user information is shared with third-party apps.

After India, the company would look at rolling out its service in its home market, the US, as well as in countries like France and Germany.

Social networking giant Facebook, which has over 20 crore users in India, had admitted that nearly 5.62 lakh people in the country were "potentially affected" by its global data breach involving Cambridge Analytica.

The data mining firm has been accused of harvesting personal information of over millions of Facebook users illegally to influence polls in several countries.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said his organisation was committed to ensuring integrity of elections across the world, including India, as he testified before the US Congress yesterday.

The above development was first reported in Times of India.

Additionally, hello has also launched “Meet Orkut in India” contest here. Simply tell why you’d like to meet Orkut Buyukkokten and you could win tickets to a hello event with Buyukkokten.

Also, it may be recalled that last month Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra invited startups in India for Facebook alternative saying that it could be the right time to find an Indian alternative of Facebook which unlike social media giant will be regulated by laws.

[Top Image - Shortpedia.in]

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