Journalistic death: How misinformation and lack of proper due diligence can damage the reputation of a company

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

By now you all have probably heard of the recent turn of events involving a much beloved and widely popular brand in India’s smartphone market, “Xiaomi” also known as “Mi”. If you are not aware, then let me enlighten you.

Last week, a certain user on Facebook had posted a photograph which showed a charred Redmi Note 4 which he claimed caught aflame while it was put on charge. This photograph picked up steam and eventually the media got hold of it and blew it up like anything we’d seen before. Along with the photograph, the media also released a certain video which showed a supposed unknown Xiaomi device, burst into flames due to the battery exploding on camera at an unnamed retail outlet after a customer brought in his unit after facing certain difficulties. The video is linked down below if you would like to go through it.

https://www.facebook.com/100002912756078/videos/vb.100002912756078/1393224814117930/?type=2&theater
Click here to view

The media got two things wrong, which is why I say that misinformation and the lack of proper due diligence are the cause mass hysteria are:

#1. No one bothered to notice that the user from Facebook posted about his Redmi Note 4 exploding in the month of July whereas this alleged video is taken from the month March 2017 as is evident from the timestamp on the top-left.

#2. The phone shown in the alleged video does not resemble any Xiaomi phone currently in the market because if you notice, it is quite large and has a shiny back which no Xiaomi phone in existence currently has.

Nonetheless, this misinformation picked up steam and became viral prompting officials from Xiaomi to take swift action, which they did only to reach the exact same conclusion that yours truly just did with mere 5 minutes of investigation. Xiaomi even took out an official statement on the issue which is posted below for reference.

At Xiaomi, customer safety is of utmost importance to us.
 

Recently, a video has been shared across a few news publications claiming that a Redmi Note 4 unit experienced an explosive scenario. We would like to state that this video has no relation to the concerned Redmi Note 4.

After an internal investigation, we found that the only recent incident of a burnt Redmi Note 4 stemmed from a Bangalore based customer – Arjun. He had purchased a Redmi Note 4 from a Poorvika store in Bangalore on 1st June 2017. His phone was damaged at his home on 17th July 2017, following which he took the phone to the aforementioned Poorvika store on the same day.

As soon as we were alerted to this incident, we took the device back. After a thorough technical investigation, we found out that the damage was caused due to a faulty third-party charger used by the customer. In addition, there were signs of physical damage on the phone as well.

Despite the customer-induced damage, we worked with the Poorvika store where the unit was bought, and replaced the customer’s damaged unit with a brand new Redmi Note 4 on Monday, 24th July 2017. We advise our customers to only use Xiaomi authorised chargers and accessories.

Regarding the video being circulated, we would like to clarify the following points:
(1) The video was attained from a random WhatsApp group, and has nothing to do with this recent Redmi Note 4 case.
(2) In fact, there is no evidence in the video to suggest that the device is a Redmi Note 4 or any other Xiaomi phone.
(3) The video is not from the aforementioned Poorvika store, or any other Poorvika store. On further investigation, we found that the CCTV video was from a retailer in Anamangad, Kerala. Xiaomi India only started selling devices at 3G and Fone 4 stores a few weeks ago in Kerala.
(4) The CCTV video was recorded on a different date, not 1st June (when Arjun bought the phone) or 17th July (when his phone got damaged).
(5) The customer in the video is not Arjun. He has confirmed to Xiaomi that the people in the video does not include or represent him or any of his relatives.

It is unfortunate that a member of the technology blogging fraternity used a video of an unrelated incident attained from a WhatsApp group, and merged it with the above-mentioned case involving Arjun, without doing any investigation. We find this behaviour very irresponsible and disturbing. We are currently evaluating legal action against this publication.

To all our Mi Fans, we would like to re-emphasise that safety is of utmost importance to us! All of our devices go through stringent quality tests to ensure that you get the best quality. We will once again encourage everyone to only use Xiaomi authorised chargers and accessories.

The above goes to show, how much of a damaging effect can poor due diligence and lack of any investigative journalism can have on a brand. If the so-called tech gurus simply took a minute to verify the details before hitting that “Publish” button, perhaps it would not have escalated as much as it did but let this incident be a reminder to most tech gurus and next-generation columnists to do their research first before hitting that publish post button.

Another video has surfaced today on Facebook which shows a Mi4 catch aflame on camera but again, if you notice the video properly, the back panel was clearly pried off and the battery was punctured which led to the phone exploding. These are no more than vultures trying to cash in on the injured reputation of the company by attempting to damage it further. Such videos should be dealt with in the swiftest and strictest manner possible and should not be taken lightly. The video is once again, linked below for reference. If you clearly notice it, you’ll see that the back panel of the Mi4 (which is non-removable, has been pried off and the battery has come out and has punctures on it.)

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1562250123827638&id=100001279968455
Click here to view

 

In closing, I would just emphasize that phones exploding are a very real thing like in the case of the Galaxy Note 7 but in general, phones do not explode. The videos above are phones exploding due to external influences. Things like physical damage to the back panel or battery can be an attributable cause to the phone exploding along with charging the device with local uncertified chargers are also reasons why phones explode. In this regard, it is my humble request that you kindly take care of your phones.

If your phone falls from your hands frequently and has a damaged back panel or you see the back portion of the phone swelling up, it is best to have it fixed at your nearest service center as soon as possible to prevent any mishap. With respect to phone chargers, it is advised to charge your phones with only the one came with the box. If for some reason that one breaks or you lose it, kindly purchase a certified charger from a reputed brand. Please avoid any local market chargers as they come with no genuine certification whatsoever and have no control on the amount of voltage delivered to your phone which can in all likelihood lead to the phone battery exploding at a given point of time.

Kindly keep these things in mind from here-on-out while handling your smartphone so that no such mishap happens to you down the line with your precious phone.

With that, I end this piece. Thank you for bearing with me on this lengthy article and I hope it has clarified all your doubts regarding the recent turn of events and has made you more aware of how to properly handle your personal device.

Stay tuned to more from Nightlytech, real soon!

Banner credits: Gearbest
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