Facebook India’s Ankhi Das steps down to pursue 'public service'

Comes two months after allegations that she stopped company from applying hate speech rules to the BJP

Facebook India’s Ankhi Das steps down to pursue 'public service'

Photo: Facebook/Ankhi Das

New Delhi, October 27

Facebook India's controversial public policy head Ankhi Das is leaving the company with immediate effect "to pursue her interest in public service", the social networking giant announced on Tuesday.

"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," Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India, said in a statement.

 The resignation comes after a Wall Street Journal report on August 14 said that the top leadership at Facebook's India office refused to apply the company's own rules to politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite clear violations of Facebook's policies against incitement to violence, hate speech and misinformation.

Das reportedly "told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi's party would damage the company's business prospects in the country".   

She also filed a police complaint for harassment and vicious online trolling after the report.

Following the report, the Congress raised the issue of what it calls "unholy nexus" of the ruling BJP with Facebook and WhatsApp.

 Mohan said that Das "has been a part of my leadership team over the last two years, a role in which she has made enormous contributions."   

"I have decided to step down from Facebook after long service to its mission of connecting people and building communities to pursue my personal interest in public service," Das said in a post.

Last week, deposing before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on personal data protection Bill 2019, Das was asked how much funds are spent by the social media giant on data safety, according to sources.

The executives were also questioned on the quantum of Facebook's revenue as well as the profit they are making in India.

Das, who was recently alleged to have ignored hate speech on its platform, along with other representatives, gave a detailed presentation.

Last month, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written a hard-hitting letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, blaming the Facebook India management of alleged bias against people supporting the right-of-centre ideology.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, empowers the government to ask companies for both anonymous personal and non-personal data. Agencies

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