Last weekend, one of Europe’s top consumer electronics chains, MediaMarkt, decided to stop the sales of DJI drones amid allegations that the Chinese company was supporting Russian aggression against Ukraine. While DJI promptly dismissed those claims as “utterly false” on social media Friday, the tech giant has now released a statement explaining that its business partner was forced to remove DJI products from its shelves for security reasons as it had become a target of online attacks.
“On March 24 and 25, the social media accounts of our business partners were subject to what appeared to be a coordinated campaign making false allegations against DJI via thousands of spam messages containing the same content,” the DJI statement reads.
“As a matter of precaution, one of our partners suspended all sales of DJI products while evaluating the situation in close cooperation with DJI. The allegations made against us are not based on facts and are utterly untrue.”
It’s common knowledge that DJI drones have become a hot-button issue in the Ukraine-Russia war. While ordinary Ukrainian citizens and the army alike have been using DJI drones to track Russian convoys, the drone maker has been accused of giving Russia preferential access to its AeroScope drone detection platform and coordinating strikes against civilians.
The drone maker has issued various statements over the past few days, explaining why some Ukrainian troops may be facing trouble with AeroScope, or why it could not set up geofencing restrictions to block Russians from flying DJI drones in Ukraine without grounding Ukrainian drones too in the process. However, at the core of it, what DJI is dealing with looks like an unintended consequence of an emerging technology.
DJI’s official statement on the Ukraine-Russia war
Insisting that the company’s products don’t belong in the warzone, DJI says its core purpose is to design civilian drone technology to help humanity. Here’s DJI:
DJI promotes civilian drone applications that benefit society. In addition to bringing new tools to aerial photographers and filmmakers, we see more and more firefighters, search and rescue teams, and other public safety agencies around the world using our products to save lives.
DJI takes compliance issues very seriously. We are committed to act in accordance with sanctions, export controls, and other applicable laws and regulations. We have a dedicated in-house compliance team and experienced US and European external counsel, to ensure our general business practices and transactions are in full compliance with applicable rules and regulations.
Our purpose has always been to give everyone the means to view the world from a different angle. We will continue developing and supporting – with our partners – peaceful and socially responsible applications of our entire product portfolio so that more users can experience the joy of flight.