myBurgerLab : A Cyberbully Who Weaponised Social Media?

myBurgerLab recently posted a private conversation they had with a student, calling him out for being rude and literally asking netizens to “help roast this fella“.

They also shared his name, college and even tagged his college publicly. This has led many to wonder if they weaponised social media to cyberbully a student.

Find out what happened, and why some netizens are speaking out against what myBurgerLab has done.

myBurgerLab : A Cyberbully Who Weaponised Social Media?

 

myBurgerLab vs Student : What Happened?

On 3 July 2020, a student from BERJAYA TVET College privately messaged the myBurgerLab team to ask for help with his college project.

But when he did not receive a reply after 2 hours, he sent them a rude comment, “Useless company.. Asking stuff didn’t even reply shit

That kickstarted a conversation which myBurgerLab then posted publicly, asking their supporters to “Help roast this fella“, sharing his profile and college name, as well as tagging his college.

myBurgerLab student posts

But after a public lash-back, they edited their post, not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES, with these changes :

  • removing their call to roast the student for his rude remarks
  • removing their tagging of BERJAYA TVET College
  • replacing their screenshot of the student’s Facebook profile page with his name crossed out

While many of those who read the posts universally agreed that that the student was rude, many pointed out that myBurgerLab’s response was far from professional.

In fact, quite a few felt that sharing the student’s Facebook profile page while asking their supporters to “help roast” him was bordering on doxxing, if not outright cyberbullying the student.

Christopher Gomez wrote a great piece below in the Beyond Malaysia group, which he kindly shared with us.

It is a great reminder that while businesses may be unfairly attacked on social media, it doesn’t give them the right to weaponise it and send their supporters to target someone they don’t like.

We say this to myBurgerLab and everyone else who supported their actions – SAY NO TO CYBERBULLYING!

myBurgerLab : A Cyberbully Who Weaponised Social Media?

by Christopher Gomez

After reading and assessing the contents, I’m of the opinion that Burger Lab should be brought to task.

They insulted the student. Then even went to the extent of publicly shaming this student, his mother and his school. And if all those acts weren’t horrible enough, they went on to ask the wider community to ‘attack’ him via roasting him publicly.

Via their edits, you might see that it seems to look like their response was seemingly thought out, intentional, and meant to cause ‘hurt’.

And they made 5 edits. It took them 5 (FIVE) edits over the span of an hour, to seemingly justify their actions.

In the edits they made to that post, it seemed to me that all this was “content” for them. Perhaps to them, whether the outcome out of all this was good or not-so-good, it’s still publicity for them.

To me, their response to the student seemed premeditated.

To me, they weaponized social media.

They got upset and took it out on a “kid”, his mother and even on his school, and then they weaponized their social media following by seemingly attempting to get their audience on their side and perhaps even riled up, and attack the student (and perhaps even his parents/family/school).

To me, their use of the word “repercussions” in this context shows the kind of company, Burger Lab, is. They seem to demonstrate clearly that they knew what they were doing, when they put out their response. They shamed the boy, his parents and his school.

And their “apologies” line in Point No. 5 of their post, shows me how much they just wanted to quickly brush aside their mistake and then turn the focus back on trolling/bullying the kid.

In Point No. 3 of their post, they even go to the extent of justifying their actions and downplaying the dangers of revealing a user’s identity ( irrespective if it is was an in-real-life identity or a pseudonym ).

BTW, take note that in Point No. 4 of their post, they admitted that they were shaming him in public. But they justified it by showing that their action was some kind of ‘service to society’.

I strongly urge Malaysians to really think about how they spend their money in Malaysia. In the United States, Japan and many of the countries in the EU, you’ll see that the public stops their patronage of a business when that business behaves poorly. That’s consumer activism at its easiest — it’s simple, quick and effective.

Even in Singapore this form of consumer activism is actively practiced. When businesses behave like jerks (no matter what the reason may be) Singaporeans respond by not supporting them.

I’m writing this to encourage each of you to really think about where you want your money to go?

I’m calling a spade a spade — I would be furious with my kid if he or she did this ( in real life or on social media ) but potentially putting my child in harms way is disgusting and life threatening. The way Burger Lab went about this, they should be reported and charges should be brought against them.

Heck, I am sure none of you will tolerate your kid behaving this way, but if you received a response such as this from a company, you know they have put your child’s life (for the present time and future) in danger.

Approximately two months ago, it was reported in the Malaysian media that we lost a young lady to cyberbullying. The whole country was in shock. The local authorities are still working on this problem, and are trying to find solutions.

So as a group, as a community let’s be part of the solution. Begin by:

  • Stopping your support for businesses that bully, are seemingly proud that they behave like bullies, encourages others to bully, and are seemingly proud they were able to try to encourage others to bully.
  • Stopping our support for business that endanger the lives of our kids, exploits the kindness of our community, and encourages us to behave in such a horrible and potentially irreversibly damaging way.

I, now, personally think Burger Lab doesn’t deserve to be in business. Is there a possibility that their management will respond the way World of Buzz did? Maybe. But there’s more and more evidence out there that shows that the staff of a company behaves according to a company’s culture, and the company’s culture is set in place and nurtured by its management. Malaysian companies or companies operating in Malaysia cannot keep giving excuses, shoddy apologies and shoddy solutions and keep remaining in business.

Granted, the student who sent the private message was rude, but he could have been cyber-bullied (and is probably already being cyber/bullied) to the point of no return. Personally, this is something I can’t overlook, and I can’t forgive.

 

myBurgerLab vs Student : Latest Updates

On 5 July 2020, the controversy led myBurgerLab co-founder Renyi Chin to post a public statement :

Hey everyone. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. It’s time to address the issue.

First of all, my name is Renyi and I’m one of the cofounder of myBurgerLab. I’ve been responsible for maintaining the voice and direction of myBurgerLab for the most part, since its inception in 2012. So for those assuming we hired an intern and he “screwed up”, nope, it was me. I replied to him and made the post.

While it may seem like we all have split opinions on this, allow me to explain why I replied and posted as I did. Roast me personally later.

The myBurgerLab team addresses hundreds of messages every other week on social media – some nice, some unkind but mostly harmless. One thing though, we always make it a point to attend to every educational request, especially for projects. Yes, we do miss out on some, but we’ll always try to reply and make time to take a call, zoom, or even meet up. Don’t take my word for it, our record will show that we‘ve always been advocates for higher learning and are active participants in that process.

myBurger Lab Renyi Chin

Almost all educational project collabs are productive and insightful, for both the student and the company. But every now and then we do get requests from students that can be really absurd. We even have students basically asking us to write their report for them (student: I give you questions, you type out answer can?).

On Friday afternoon, a student sent us a pm on FB, and expected an immediate reply. We usually attend to non-pressing matters after office hours. Unfortunately, he chose to hurl insults at us after just two hours before we had a chance to reply. With this, I already knew that we would not afford him the time that could be better spent on others. In my usual tone, I told him to bugger off nicely. Which was then met with more insults. If you think I should have acted professionally, I did.

My intention doing what I did thereafter, is to let everyone know that just because you are sitting behind a screen, it gives you no right to be abusive. It’s never ok to mistreat people in the service industry just because we are here to serve, that doesn’t make it okay for you to spit on us. In response, I wanted to bring light to his abusive online persona. Yes, I agree that the original post calling to roast him was wrong. It was intended to be a joke, a poor attempt at that, and was unfortunately taken into another direction. I corrected the post accordingly after reading the comments. I apologize for the poor choice of words in the original post.

I believe that calling out a bully is not bullying. In the face of any abuse, speak up. We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for ourselves and for the people we care about. We are here to service our customers and to serve the community however we can. As with everyone else in the service industry, we have to deal with the occasional rude and inconsiderate customer, with a smile and as professionally as we can. But if ever a customer berates us or insults the team, we will not tolerate it. And if any member of our staff is faced with such abuse, we will stand up for them.

That is what I personally chose to do. I took a stand for the brand that I love and the brand that we all spent so much time and energy growing. No one is gonna call it “sh*t” and get away with it, especially unprovoked. Look, I’d be the first to admit we aren’t perfect, if our service or burgers are not up to standard, let us know, we always welcome the feedback and will strive to do better. But in this case, the student was malicious to start with and I had no intention to let it slide.

So if you feel disappointed that I did it. I’m sorry. But I’ll stand up for my brand over and over again (with a better context) if need be.

At the moment, we are working closely with the Berjaya school team to rectify what was done wrong and I’ve personally volunteered my time for community service in the school (as a form of accountability on my part) to whichever capacity they see fit.

For those that pm me to check in on me, and sent words of solidarity, thank you. And to those who still don’t see eye to eye with me, Okay, in all fairness, you can roast me now or choose to have a dialogue. Your call. I’ll attend to it when I can.

Sincerely,
Renyi.

On 6 July 2020, myBurgerLab further edited their post, removing the student’s Facebook profile after he apologised to them.

They also stated that they will be working with the school to “provide better quality education and work experiences for the betterment of the industry“.

Obviously, myBurgerLab believes that they were completely in the right to post the student’s private messages as an object lesson in the consequences of being rude to a business.

It is unfortunate that they do not see the danger in asking people to teach the student a lesson. That goes beyond just publicly shaming someone for acting like an asshole, and is far beyond what the student deserves for a few seconds of stupidity.

Again, we would like everyone to be aware about the dangers of CYBERBULLYING. Those with significant social media presence should be particularly careful in how they respond.

Remember – with great power, comes great responsibility…

 

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