Criticism of Top Marketing Spender Byju's Leads to LinkedIn Deleting Dr Aniruddha Malpani's Account
Updated on 28 July 2020 to add response from Byju's.
 
Dr Aniruddha Malpani, a doctor and an angel investor, was a prolific writer on LinkedIn on a wide range of topics covering the start-up ecosystem and lately, publishing posts critical of edtech major Byju’s work culture, business model and user experience, among others. Last week, LinkedIn deleted Dr Malpani’s account for his many posts on Byju’s, which is one of the top advertisers on the social media site.
 
In his blogpost, Dr Malpani says , “When I learned that Byju’s – the world’s most highly valued education start-up – was mis-selling its app to parents by using pressure tactics, and blaming and shaming parents into buying it, I spoke up against these malpractices. I was hopeful that Byju would respond to this feedback and fix their broken processes. They had a chance to engage on LinkedIn and show the world how they had improved.”
 
 
Dr Malpani’s posts levelled various allegations against Byju’s, including its work culture and its product He says, “They (Byju’s) taught their sales-people to mis-sell by blaming and shaming parents, who are vulnerable. They exploited their ignorance by bad-mouthing schools and teachers, and warning them that their kids would be left behind in the competition if they did not buy the Byju’s apps. They locked them into multi-year subscriptions by offering discounts for payments made using EMIs through a third-party financer, and once parents had signed these contracts, they were stuck and could not cancel.”
 
He alleged that “They complained to LinkedIn, claiming my posts defamatory – even though they knew the posts were completely true, and in turn LinkedIn permanently deleted my account, without giving me a chance to be heard, or to appeal!”
 
“I acted as a responsible citizen. I spoke the truth, in the hope that Byju’s would use this opportunity to get their act together. And the result was that 10 years of my hard work and the 1,80,000 followers which I had built up, one at a time, have been taken away from me! Not only have I lost the decade of hard work I put into generating original content on LinkedIn, I have I lost my connections with all of you, who helped me to learn so much by engaging in debate with me,” Dr Malpani says.
 
As per a report from Entrackr , this is not the first time LinkedIn has taken action against Dr Malpani’s account. His account was previously suspended in May but was reinstated after two weeks. “At that time, LinkedIn said that I have been posting a lot about Coronavirus and these posts do not fall in line with WHO guidelines,” Dr Malpani told the website.
 
Byju’s did not offer a comment for the story to Entrackr. 
 
Responding to Entrackr’s detailed questionnaire, the Microsoft-owned platform had said “LinkedIn is committed to keeping our platform safe, trusted and professional. We have clear terms of service and professional community policies that we expect all of our members to adhere to. We can confirm that this account has been restricted and cannot comment further on member accounts due to our privacy policy.”
 
UPDATE:
In an email to Moneylife, Byju's claimed that it is not a top spender on LinkedIn.
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    COMMENTS

    Rharlalka

    4 months ago

    I do not think the company expressly denied the allegation and confirm that their reps do not use pressure tactics as alleged. their stand is generalising it as defamatory. if they feel doctor is wrong they should use the legal route as it will definitely enhance their credibility and not by muting the allegation. also the company just officially announce if any customer feels they have been pressurised or tricked or forced sell they can cancel the subscription and take refund

    AJ_AJ

    4 months ago

    I believe another website detailed all of the atrocities going on at Byju's, as well as the specific tactics used by their sales team (might have been The Ken?)...Also there was recently an audio leak on Reddit's India subreddit between a sales rep and his supervisor that laid bare this pressure, obscenities and all...

    chandraprabhavenkatagiri

    4 months ago

    1. I am saddened at the turn of events - Linked In could have blocked his post instead of deleting his account.

    2. Byjus used to offer starting salaries in the range of Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakhs for freshers. I used to wonder how...I am pained that new age entrepreneurs are engendering governace leakages through such practices that are likely to be labelled as unethical.

    3. I feel LinkedIn may be suffering from an identity crisis of sorts - yes, i agree with one of the comments that most of the job postings are not genuine. Now it is scary to think what if our personal data gets compromised. If I am not mistaken, it was supposed to be a professional networking tool - but today it is anything but that.

    4. Lastly, let us remember the cardinal rule of "Buyer Beware" (Caveat Emptor). Rather than blaming service providers, a bit of caution on our side will do us good in the long run. Very disappointed to note that aggressive selling tactics were adapted. Hope better sense prevails. For a(ny) business, reputational damage is not easy to fight.

    saturn.frost

    4 months ago

    Well sometimes what you sow is what you get back. Mr.Malpani is known for blocking many followers just because they dont agree with him...if individual has so little maturity of not respecting differences..what does he expect back! Second creating awareness is something different...but bad mouthing about product and then work culture etc etc sounds like he had a personal agenda...and if it is true that if Byju has assures him changes he was lucky cause many of them sont even bodher about any negative comments....even after that if he kept ranting...its fishy ...what was his agenda is something to think about!

    REPLY

    guptapankaj22

    In Reply to saturn.frost 4 months ago

    how do u know that BYJU s assured the doctor of changes ? this is not mentioned anywhere in the article. Seems like you are privy to byju network..

    Vishnuvardhan09

    In Reply to guptapankaj22 4 months ago

    If you go through the LinkedIn account of the CPO of Byju's , you would find a public response to the doctor .

    MDT

    4 months ago

    We are finding several 'orchestrated' comments on this article. We request these people to refrain from posting such comments. After a while we will either block such attacks or file a cyber complaint after studying IPs through our tech team!

    Sanjeev B

    4 months ago

    Nine one-line comments against Malpani in the last two hours! How recent are these profiles? MoneyLife please check if these are genuine, or are they a paid response to your article.

    REPLY

    gurjartanay

    In Reply to Sanjeev B 4 months ago

    Valid point.....all these profiles look like the IT cell of Byjus scanning the internet to post vile comments against their critics

    sucheta

    In Reply to Sanjeev B 4 months ago

    Yes. we are checking. This looks like a concerted action by a social media team to bad mouth Dr Malpani. It does nothing to enhance Byju's credibility and none of them address issues raised by the doctor!

    AJ_AJ

    In Reply to sucheta 4 months ago

    Might be useful to add a little more detail about posters, such a posting frequency or something...

    prime

    In Reply to sucheta 4 months ago

    Thanks Ms Dalal! - great to see prompt action from the MoneyLife Digital Team on this. Freedoms and facts need to be constantly protected.

    retinajosep77

    4 months ago

    The Byju’s CPO himself had acknowledged issues and promised to work on them but Malpani had other plans, He went on with a barrage of tweets which was pretty much spam.

    REPLY

    guptapankaj22

    In Reply to retinajosep77 4 months ago

    how do you know that BYJUs CPO himself had acknowledged issues ? article doesn't mention it. spamming ??????

    patsharma21

    In Reply to guptapankaj22 4 months ago

    You can check in LinkedIn , Even after giving a resolution Malpani didn't stop his criticism. He started speaking about content . He is targeting Byju's

    modifiedtamilan

    4 months ago

    Every LinkedIn user is entitled to report what they deem worthy of reporting . In the end it is LinkedIn who makes the decision.

    charankooomar

    4 months ago

    For a senior investor like him , did he forget the difference between constructive criticism and bullying

    kumarsaran532

    4 months ago

    He is so naive to think that only Byju's would've reported his LinkedIn account.

    angurajvkm

    4 months ago

    Doctor says he acted as a responsible citizen , what was he thinking when he advocated herd immunity ?

    deepikasesha

    4 months ago

    LinkedIn is a professional community and malpani was everything other than being professional.

    REPLY

    patsharma21

    In Reply to deepikasesha 4 months ago

    True

    manuja765

    4 months ago

    It serves him right considering he was so rude to people who spoke contrary to his opinion.

    Govindaswamy Naidu

    4 months ago

    He was just playing jury and judge on a professional platform while his sycophants danced to the tune of their master.

    harigang1

    4 months ago

    Misinformation seems to be Mr. Malpani's forte considering he was already suspended for calling covid-19 a "joke" .

    SC seeks UGC response on pleas seeking quashing guidelines for final year exams
    The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from University Grants Commission (UGC) on a batch of pleas seeking quashing of its guidelines dated July 6, whereby all the universities/colleges have been instructed to conduct final-year examinations by September 30.
     
    A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for UGC, to file a response on the matter within two days. The bench has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Friday.
     
    Over a dozen students from various parts of the country had moved the apex court. The petitioners, which include a COVID-19 positive student, have pointed out that there are many final year students, who themselves or their family members are COVID-19 positive. 
     
    Advocate Alak Alok Srivastava appearing for a student cited that nearly 50,000 Covid-19 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours and the situation is really worse. He urged the apex court to stay the guidelines while the matter is pending.
     
    Mehta contended before the apex court that UGC is only concerned with final year exams. 
     
    "There are 818 universities in India and out of this 35 have not reached final year exams. 209 have completed the exams, 394 are in the process of conducting the exams", contended Mehta.
     
    Mehta informed that the UGC had given option of an online exam, offline exam or merger of both. There are MHRD and MHA guidelines which state not more than 10 students in one room with social distancing.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    User 

    COMMENTS

    retinajosep77

    4 months ago

    The Byju’s CPO himself had acknowledged issues and promised to work on them but Malpani had other plans, He went on with a barrage of tweets which was pretty much spam.

    How to decode fake news of Covid-19
    The spread of fake news is at an all-time high in the midst of the coronavirus onslaught. Majority of the news currently being circulated on social media platforms have a questionable status; often they have more than one element of falsification.
     
    This news mainly pertains to details of repatriation flights, preventive measures, treatment for Covid-19, information regarding containment zones or impending lockdowns in various areas, etc.
     
    Social Media Matters (SMM) along with the Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics (IGPP) carried out a survey regarding Fake News generated and perceived by the regular population during this time. With around 3,752 questionnaires filled out from across India, the survey generated a detailed understanding by a variety of people belonging to different age groups and states across India.
     
    While the majority of participants lied in the age-group of 18 to 25 (2,766 respondents) it was closely followed by the age-group 25 to 35 with 565 respondents.
     
    According to the survey supported by Sarvahitey and Youth Online Learning Opportunities:
     
    69 percent respondents reported receiving fake news regarding COVID-19, during the lockdown
     
    74 percent of the recipients belonged to the age category of 18-25 years.
     
    88.4 percent reported the major source of Fake News to be WhatsApp, followed by Facebook (42.5 percent) and Instagram (reported by 21.96 percent)
     
    70 percent of the respondents reported cross checking and verifying news which seems fake
     
    The major sources of fact checking were Google Search (48.8 percent) and Government sources (36.6 percent)
     
    Nearly 84 percent stated that they do not trust such news
     
    76 percent stated they inform others regarding the spread of fake news, once recognised
     
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    95 percent respondents felt that there is a need to raise more awareness regarding the reporting mechanisms for fake news.
     
    Commenting on the outcomes, Amitabh Kumar, Founder of Social Media Matters said: "Misinformation is probably the most complex phenomenon of the information age, as it attacks the basic fragment of our modern society, which is an informed citizen. We need to take up a systematic approach to ensure we build capacities of fact seeking."
     
    Dr. Manish Tiwari, Sr. Fellow, Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics said: "Social media is becoming the new carrier of info-demics in these times of pandemic... Almost 70 percent of people in the Country have got some fake news or mis-information about Covid-19 since it started; and 75 percent of these are between the age of 18-25 years. It's clear, young people are being targeted to further spread the misinformation and fake news as they are prime users of all the social media platforms." 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

     

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