Industry

Ankhi Das quits Facebook

Ankhi Das. File   | Photo Credit: Shaju John

Facebook’s India policy head Ankhi Das, who was at the centre of the controversy over the social media network’s alleged bias in favour of the ruling Modi-led government, and violation of its own hate speech policy in India, has quit the company.

Also read: Posts by Facebook's Ankhi Das show political bias, says new report

In a statement, Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director, Facebook India, said, “Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service.”

“Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last nine years. She has been a part of my leadership team over the last two years, a role in which she has made enormous contributions. We are grateful for her service and wish her the very best for the future,” he added.

The move also comes close on the heels of Ms. Das’s appearance before the Joint Committee of Parliament that is examining the draft Data Protection Bill.

Also read: FIR registered in Chhattisgarh against Ankhi Das, two Facebook users

The controversy over Facebook’s and Ms. Das’s role in not adequately controlling hate speech on the platform, and political bias in India, started over two months back, when a report published by The Wall Street Journal alleged that the company violated its own rules for hate speech to favour some individuals, including those associated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after Ms. Das’s intervention. The report had stated that, according to Ms. Das, punishing violations by politicians from the ruling party “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country”.

This was followed by another report by the paper stating that Ms. Das had over the past years shown support for the BJP via posts in a Facebook group for employees, while disparaging the Opposition parties. The report said that in one of the messages, posted the day before BJP won the 2014 national elections, Ms. Das wrote, “We lit a fire to his social media campaign and the rest is of course history.”

Also read: Facebook India public policy director files police complaint over threats, offensive messages on social media

Recently, she was also reported to have apologised to colleagues for sharing an anti-Muslim post on her Facebook page that called Muslims in India a “degenerate community”.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:18:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/ankhi-das-quits-facebook/article32955874.ece

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