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Ola Electric demands user drop defamatory content

While Ola Electric has cornered a significant share in the electric two-wheeler market in India, it has faced safety concerns after a few vehicles caught fire earlier this year. (Bloomberg)Premium
While Ola Electric has cornered a significant share in the electric two-wheeler market in India, it has faced safety concerns after a few vehicles caught fire earlier this year. (Bloomberg)

  • The response sent to Guwahati-based Balwant Singh urged him to cleanse his social media presence of all tweets, retweets, posts and reports that show Ola Electric and its products in a negative light, failing which the company could take ‘appropriate action’

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Electric two-wheeler manufacturer Ola Electric Mobility Pvt Ltd on Wednesday sent a legal response to Guwahati-based Balwant Singh, demanding he erase all defamatory content against the company from his social media, while also expressing a willingness to negotiate, two people aware of the development said.  Singh's son Reetam met with an accident and was injured while riding an Ola Electric vehicle in March. 

The response sent to Singh urged him to cleanse his social media presence of all tweets, retweets, posts and reports that show Ola Electric and its products in a negative light, failing which the company could take ‘appropriate action’, the people cited above said, asking to remain anonymous.  

In the same intimation, Ola Electric also said it is keen to 'have a dialogue' to 'amicably resolve' concerns raised by Singh, the people aware of the development said.  

 “Ola Electric has only responded to the notice and its contents. Ola has not issued any notice," the firm's spokesperson said in an emailed response.  

In April, Guwahati-based Balwant Singh had blamed Ola Electric on social media after his son Reetam Singh met with an accident while on the scooter. Singh claimed the accident was caused after the scooter sped up, while the brakes were engaged.  

Ola Electric responded by publishing the scooter’s telemetry data online which alleged that it was Singh who had been over-speeding.  

This prompted Balwant Singh to send a legal notice to Ola Electric on April 23, charging the company with a violation of privacy.  Singh had also challenged the veracity of the data that Ola Electric had published in his notice as well as on social media. Singh has not posted or tweeted about Ola Electric since April 23, when he sent the notice to the company.  

Ola Electric also reiterated the company's position in its response that it wasn't in breach of the customer's privacy as the customer himself had made his identity known through his public complaint on Twitter, the people cited above added.  However, the notice does not clarify or respond to particular issues questioning the authenticity of the telemetry data that Ola Electric published. 

 "We still contest this [the published data].  Data has been fabricated and taken without our presence where the report mentions figures which were not proven to be that of our scooter," Reetam Singh told Mint.   

“The Ola Report in the first line and last line clearly identifies me as the rider, implying the alleged data set belonging to me during accident. Which implies they violated the Rule 3(viii) of the Information Technology Rules, 2011. The sensitive information was released to the public along with my information without due permission. And when my father issued the takedown email questioning the authenticity of the data; Ola according to its own Privacy Rules were required to take it down. The Notice is further silent on the issue that if I was riding at speeds higher than statutorily permitted speeds, is the ‘Hyper Mode’ of Ola illegal and in violation of statutorily limited speeds? Or was Ola tracking my location as well because I could have been riding on the highways or expressway and as such, my speed as alleged by Ola are legal speeds", Singh told Mint. 

Earlier, a Mint investigation traced over 150 dubious social media accounts which construct a positive narrative around the brand on Twitter, and frequently attack and troll those users who criticise the brand or its products. 

While Ola Electric has cornered a significant share in the electric two-wheeler market in India, it has faced safety concerns after a few vehicles caught fire earlier this year. The two-wheeler maker has also  faced significant customer criticism in recent months because of delay in delivering its vehicles. 

 

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