Home >News >India >Facebook’s India policy chief Ankhi Das steps down after controversy over BJP bias
Facebook's public policy director, Ankhi Das has stepped down from her position. (REUTERS)
Facebook's public policy director, Ankhi Das has stepped down from her position. (REUTERS)

Facebook’s India policy chief Ankhi Das steps down after controversy over BJP bias

  • 'Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service,' said Facebook's India Managing Director Ajit Mohan
  • Das had recently been questioned by a joint parliamentary committee looking at the Personal Data Protection Bill

Social media giant Facebook’s public policy director, Ankhi Das, has stepped down from her position, the company said in a statement today. Das led the company’s policy team for India, and South and Central Asia. According to Facebook, Das has stepped down to “pursue interests in public service".

“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 9 years. She has been a part of my leadership team over the last 2 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." said Ajit Mohan, Facebook's India Vice President & Managing Director.

A policy expert close to the company said Das’ departure from the company had been expected since the past two months after Wall Street Journal reported that she had opposed the takedown of posts by BJP ministers to protect the company’s interests in India. Internal emails from the company showed that Das had opposed BJP politician T. Raja Singh being designated as dangerous for violating the company’s hate speech rules.

Mohan, though, had defended the company’s position in the country, saying it remains non-partisan and unbiased. “Public policy in India, while being one stakeholder who can express one point of view among many voices, but they did not have any decision-making power in this. The content policy team that is on the hook for enforcing content decisions in India is separate and independent from the public policy team," he told Mint in an interview earlier.

The company had recently appointed ex-Executive Director for the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), Sunil Abraham, as the Director, Public Policy for Data and Emerging Tech for India. The company said Abraham would report to Das and she remains the head for its policy efforts in the country. It’s unclear whether Abraham will take over Das’ position in the country.

“As part of the public policy leadership team, Abraham will contribute to important policy development initiatives and proceedings in India and the South Asia region on data protection, privacy, new and emerging tech and represent Facebook's position in these multi-stakeholder processes," the company had said in a press release.

Facebook had also been questioned by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) looking at the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP) last week. Representatives of the company, including Das, had appeared in front of the JPC to answer questions about data portability, advertisement revenue generated from India and corporate tax being paid here.

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