Thursday, April 25, 2024

Indian Facebook’s face Ankhi Das Quits

E. Siva Kumar

  • She was Head of Public Policy for FB of India
  • Leaving the company to pursue public service: Das
  • AICC writes to Mark Zuckerberg
  • Ravi Shankar Prasad condemns charge

Hyderabad: Ankhi Das, after facing allegations of violating  the hate speech rules against a political party, resigned from the position of head, public policy of India, for Face book. The statement released by AJit Mohan, MD of Face Book in India, said “Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and had played an instrumental role in growth of the company. She decided to step down to pursue her interest in public service”.

Allegations of bias

But the main allegations on her was she did not oppose in constraining or opposing hate speeches posted by political leaders like Raja Singh, MLA, of Telangana. Face book authorities felt that it may lead to communal hatred if not restricted, but the allegation gave room to the charge that Ankhi das favoured BJP on FB which is against the company’s policy. All these created a big row in major political parties such as the BJP and the Congress, with later saying that FB is supporting BJP. The Congress’ allegation was condemned by IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. Close friends and relatives of Das said her resignation is no way related to the allegations against her.

Will be in touch, Mark : Ankhi

“This is a special company and special group of people. Thank you, Mark for creating something beautiful for the world. I hope I have served you and company well, I know we will be in touch on Face Book” Das said. She was with Face book for more than 9 years and took lead for South and central Asia. She worked for Microsoft India as a director for public policy before she came into Face Book as an employee.

Wall Street Journal’s article

The controversy had started with the publication of an article by Wall Street Journal of New York. The article was published with a title, ‘Facebook hate speech rules collide with Indian politics.’ Ankhi Das who lives in Mumbai has been with the company right from the start of its India operations. She reportedly told her colleagues not to ‘punish the violations’ by  BJP politicians since it could damage the company’s business prospects in the country. India is one of the biggest markets for the company.

BJP, RSS control Facebook, WhatsApp in India: Rahul

After the publication of the article, Ankhi said she was getting threatening calls. The company prohibits hate speeches and content that incites violence and it enforces the policy globally without regard to person’s political position or party affiliations. Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology had taken note of the issue. Former Congress  president Rahul Gandhi had tweeted that the BJP and the RSS control the Facebook and WhatsApp in India.  AICC had written a letter to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and release the same to the media in Delhi. Union Minister for law, Ravi Shankar Prasad had condemned the allegations. Shiv Sena had taken the queue from the Congress and attacked Ankhi Das. Facebook is the world’s largest social media giant.


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