LinkedIn has taken action against Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, a well-known angel investor, for his post about Byju’s. “LinkedIn has received a claim that alleges you have posted defamatory content. Due to the number of postings, LinkedIn has permanently restricted your account,” mentioned an email sent to Mr. Malpani by the professional network.
Aniruddha has been a fecund writer on LinkedIn and shared his experiences on a wide range of topics covering the Indian startup ecosystem. However, for the past few days, he was critical of the edtech unicorn Byju’s work culture, business model, and user experience.
Going on further, Malpani alleged that Byju’s products aren’t progressive as it encourages students to throng for exams with the short-sighted goal of scoring high marks. Furthermore, he has written several blogs on the topic which you can read here.
Dr. Aniruddha Malpani is himself an investor in Bibox, a Bengaluru-based edtech startup that manufactures educational robotics kits for Atal Tinkering Labs in schools.
Dr. Aniruddha spoke to Entrackr, “I have been writing against work culture and misleading sales tactics by Byju’s. The company also took some of my concerns seriously and acted upon them. I am disappointed and disheartened by the action taken by LinkedIn for deleting my account under the pretext my posts about Byju’s were defamatory. If they are, they can always sue me. Why try to clamp down on my right to free speech?”
It is not clear whether Byju’s reported against Malpani. According to him, LinkedIn took action on behalf of Byju’s. The restriction on Malpani’s account have created a vexation among many users.
“Was I a blind follower? No, I disagreed with him on many topics in public. But sometimes his posts highlighted issues no one else was talking about. Now banning such a member sends out a totally wrong message. That you will crush any dissenting voice. And that, in the digital world, is a very scary thing. Black Mirror level scary,” wrote a bank executive Kamlika Poddar on LinkedIn.
A lot of people from the industry are supporting Malpani’s right to freedom of speech. This isn’t the first time LinkedIn has taken action against his account. In May 2020, his account was suspended for his posts about Coronavirus. LinkedIn alleged that his posts were not in line with WHO guidelines.
Byju’s name has earlier been involved in such controversies. In May 2020, a video surfaced (later deleted by Twitter) in which a Byju’s manager was seen using inappropriate language against subordinates for not meeting sales targets. Later the edtech unicorn admitted that the video was true of its employee and fired the concerned manager.
What are your thoughts on the matter?