WhiteHat Jr is becoming quite a mysterious case since any criticism or bashing video or post on social media platforms against them have been taken down suspiciously. The company’s advertisement shows that you can start teaching your child coding by the age of 6, which is quite a claim. 

Many people posted their views against them, including a young 12-year-old YouTuber. Even a video with hardly 15-20 views was removed.

What could have been so threatening in a video made by a 12-year-old YouTuber that could severely damage the company? 

The Company WhiteHat Jr

WhiteHat Jr is a tech startup started by Karan Bajaj in 2018. It is an educational technology company that gives kids starting from the age of 6 online courses in coding and app designing. Only after 18 months of operation, Byju’s acquired the firm for $300 million. 

They have allegedly created multiple ads that were subject to controversy and ‘just for fun’ ad roasting by YouTubers as well. Many people have raised their voice against the company and recently Forbes India has done a report citing the ‘curious case of disappearing dissent’. 

Here are the people who have raised their concerns in the Forbes India report and also through social media previously:

Jihan Haria

Jihan Haria is a 12-year old YouTuber who does not even have 1000 subscribers. He started his channel out of lockdown boredom and slowly developed quite an interest in it. In a series of “Advertisement roasting” he made the mistake of taking WhiteHat Jr’s ad. 

In the ad where people are fighting to give business proposals to a 6-year-old who developed an app, Jihan reacts sarcastically about how he has wasted 6 years of his life. Within a few hours of posting the video, it was taken down for copyright violations. 

Soon his entire channel was taken down after 3 strikes. The copyright violation claim too seemed vague considering there was no footage used from the advert directly.

A lawyer specialised in intellectual property (IP) stated that the Copyright Act has exceptions to reuse videos for some purposes such as reviews or commentary. 

The young boy expressed his grief over his video being taken down as it had received 2,000 views which was a very big deal for him. 

Pradeep Ponia

Pradeep Ponia is an ex-Cisco engineer who is currently preparing for the UPSC exam. He had been raising his voice against takedowns by WhiteHat Jr for some time now. He also posted Jihan Haria’s video along with a new introduction where Haria talked about what had just happened with him.

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Earlier, 2 channels made by Pradeep Ponia had been taken down. The first channel was named ‘WhiteHat Sr’, the second was ‘Safed Topi Sr 2’. Six and eight videos from both accounts respectively were removed due to ‘copyright violations’.

His third account made with his own name remains, he posted the video about Jihan Haria’s incident on this account. You can check the content of the video here:

2 videos from his new account were taken down as well. He had previously worked in ed tech and has talked about how these companies focus more on profit than the quality of education. He started bashing WhiteHat Jr sometime in the middle of August. 

Since 11 September, a lot of his videos have been taken down. In one of his videos he talked about how a child named ‘Wolf Gupta’ had got a job at Google but the age and salary package he had changed in different advertisements. 

Another thing he pointed out were reviews on Google Play Store, many reviews had similar language due to which they appeared fake. Poonia also says that his video had hardly reached 15-20 views so he found it very fishy that they were being removed. Here’s the video featuring similar reviews:

Responses From YouTube And WhiteHat Jr

In response to the Forbes questionnaire, a WhiteHat Jr representative stated, The right of deleting a social media post lies with the platform, no private organisation has it, and so the question of silencing dissent doesn’t arise. We have highlighted certain videos to respective platforms where inappropriate (read abusive) language was used. The final call on the video to be deleted is actually taken by the platform.”

The company did not really acknowledge any marketing problems on their behalf. It also raises questions on how social media platforms are moderating their content. 

Pradeep Poonia appealed to YouTube against removing his videos and received the following response:

On October 21, Forbes India sent questionnaires to both WhiteHat Jr and YouTube around 3:30 PM. On the same day between 5:59 PM-6:28 PM, Poonia received three emails from YouTube. YouTube had given no response to him in the last few weeks. 

According to this mail, the complaint against Poonia’s video legally lacked copyright issues. It is even more surprising that a lot of his videos were reinstated in one go, even the ones he hadn’t appealed for. 14 out of 16 videos were reinstated and his previous two channels were also restored. 

The experts in the Forbes report highlighted the greater need to rely on traditional media and the limitations of social media.

To get a full picture, I am awaiting a response from WhiteHat Jr and will update the blog once I receive it.

The entire fiasco highlights the need for serious regulation of moderation of social media platforms and transparency in the content moderation. Transparency is a must since algorithms that identify copyright violations cannot differentiate between fair use and an actual violation. 

Image Credits: Google Images, Forbes

Sources: Forbes, YouTube

Find the blogger: @divijajainn

This post is tagged under: WhiteHat Jr, Karan Bajaj, curious case of disappearing dissent, dissent against WhiteHat Jr, LinkedIn, Social media, coding, coding company, educational technology, YouTube, Jihan Haria, Pradeep Poonia, YouTubers, Advertisement roasting

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