What Is The #DearNothing Controversy Around Nothing Phone (1)?

What Is The DearNothing Controversy Around Nothing Phone (1)?
Image: Prasadtechintelugu

Nothing Phone (1) generated plenty of hype as the device was deemed the next flagship killer. Only hours after the launch, the London-based startup faced criticism as the hashtag ‘DearNothing’ quickly became a trend in India.

However, the controversy wasn’t due to the sale of the smartphone, specifications, or the launch event. The hashtag got a massive influx from the South Indian tech community, which criticized former OnePlus founder Carl Pei and his new company.

What exactly triggered the trend featuring the #DearNothing hashtag, and why are some people so angry on the launch day of the device that was set to be a hit?

The hastag DearNothing started spreading after a YouTube channel Prasadtechintelugu released a video on the evening of the launch event. However, the video was originally intended to be a prank where the creator unboxed a fake Nothing Phone (1) device, and it turned out to be an empty box with a letter.

The letter (also fake) stated, “Hi Prasad, this device is not for South Indian people. Thank you,” it was written in the classic dotted font used by Nothing on promotional material. The video was seen as a protest against the lack of Nothing phone (1) review devices offered to the Indian content creators. Although, it should be noted that sending out the units is a company’s prerogative.

Image: MKBHD

However, DearNothing created a trend on Twitter where tech enthusiasts awaiting the smartphone launch mistook it as official communication from the company. It wasn’t long before hundreds of Indian users criticized the company via tweets. The misinformation also turned ugly when the users started accusing the company of favoring Hindi creators instead of regional ones.

Nothing is yet to officially respond to the incident, and many users are still unaware of the real situation. Although the video was supposed to be a joke, it did end up doing more harm than good. The event took a different turn which isn’t good for the company’s reputation, particularly in its early stages. Nothing will have to release an official statement clarifying the statement and denying claims of potential discrimination.

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