Baang is a voice-based, telephone-based forum for low-literate users. Users can post voice messages (baangs) of their own as well as listen to baangs posted by others; vote these up or down; mark posts as being inappropriate and post voice comments on them. Baangs can be browsed by popularity, recency or a mixture of the two (i.e. trending posts). Within 71 days of its launch Baang received 42,500 calls (involving 1,550 users) and accumulated 8,469 posts contributed by 888 users that were played 393,448 times (by 1,524 users). Overall, we gathered 172 hours of spontaneous speech data (106 hours of posts + 66 hours of comments) with an average recording duration of 45 seconds. Users also engaged deeply with the advanced functionality of baang resulting in 29,000 up votes (by 1,100 users), 14,000 down votes (by 730 users), 7,700 report abuse votes (by 600 users) and 11,000 comments (by 600 users). The posts were forwarded 2,083 times (by 191 users to 517 users).
Almost all recording contain actual content and most (94%) are civilized and free from foul language. Among the most popular baangs are religious poetry (naat, hamd etc.), quranic recitation, songs, jokes, famous quotes and users hosting programs as DJs. People generally tend to vote down and report abusive content and enthusiastically compete for votes. Baang also found a lot of uptake among blind users (38% in a randomly chosen sample of 148 users). Content posted on baang is regularly monitored by moderators to prevent abuse and misuse.
We intend to use Baang for information dissemination to low-literate and visually impaired masses, mining public sentiment, gathering linguistic resources of local languages of Pakistan and behavior change studies.