Edtech startup WhiteHat Jr
Edtech startup WhiteHat Jr

Edtech startup WhiteHat Jr has been asked by Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) to pull down five of its advertisements for dubious and unsubstantiated claims, a report said on Tuesday.

Forbes India reported that the ASCI has asked WhiteHat Jr to pull down its advertisements that it says made dubious and unsubstantiated claims.

ASCI is a self-regulatory body for advertisers in India.

Manisha Kapoor, secretary general of ASCI, told Forbes India that it has processed 15 complaints against seven advertisements of WhiteHat Jr and found that five of them were in potential violation of the ASCI code.

The advertiser agreed to immediately withdraw the advertisement when ASCI asked them for their response, the report said.

WhiteHat Jr was acquired by Byju's for $300 million earlier this year. The company that claims to train young kids in coding has invited the wrath of parents and some tech experts for its aggressive marketing strategy. The messaging in these advertisements has also been questioned.

The company has also been accused of censoring negative views on social media and getting the accounts of critics suspended.

Pradeep Poonia, a software engineer with Cisco, wrote in a blog earlier this month that his account kept getting suspended as he tried to post about WhiteHatJr.

"WhiteHat Jr and Byju's are misusing their position, for more than a month I have been trying to post about WhiteHatJr. On whichever platform I go to, either my accounts get suspended or my posts get deleted," he said.

Questioning the startup's credentials, Poonia said, "WhiteHat Jr isn't letting me post any review about their platform. I started with a video titled ‘Who is Wolf Gupta?’. This particular video has been removed 3 times by now. @WhiteHatJr Why? We all know this kid is fictitious, does not exist. His age keeps on changing between 9-14 y/o. And his salary between 1.2 crores, 20 crores, and 150 crores. To some of you, it might be a normal marketing gimmick but most people would agree that this is not acceptable when target consumers are 6-year-old kids! Such ‘White’ lies are not allowed."

He also questioned such policy, asking if the society really want "kids to run this high salary rat race."

From parents to celebrities, many have questioned the Byju's and WhiteHatJr's tactics.

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