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.
In an email to Moneylife, Byju's claimed that it is not a top spender on LinkedIn.