Ankhi Das, Facebook's public policy director for India, steps down

Elias Hubbard
October 28, 2020

Facebook Inc's top India lobbyist Ankhi Das has quit, the U.S. tech giant said on Tuesday, months after a political controversy erupted over how the popular social media network regulates political content in the country.

Controversies around Das first erupted around the year 2016 when regulator Trai opposed Facebook's controversial "Free Basics" platform on the grounds that it may be against the tenets of net neutrality.

While the former Facebook executive did not give details as to why she chose to leave the company, in her Facebook post she did say her decision came as she wanted to pursue "her personal interest in public service".

More than 40 rights groups worldwide had written a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in September, demanding that Das be sidelined, pending the outcome of a civil rights audit.

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.

In his Facebook posts, Singh demanded that Rohingya refugees be shot, called India's Muslims traitors and threatened to demolish mosques. Facebook did not immediately respond to TIME's questions about whether Das's departure would change the scope of that assessment in any way.

Talking about her departure, Das stated, "I have made a decision 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, who also headed Facebooks public policy team in India, was accused by company insiders of having intervened to block action against a Telangana BJP leader for his Islamophobic comments. According to her, the team was small and the mission was to connect people in India at the time.

"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", Mohan said in a statement. The company had then said Abraham would report to Das and she remains the head for its policy efforts in the country.

Thank you, Mark (Zuckerberg) for creating something handsome for the world. But the commercial roll-out of WhatsApp Pay has been delayed for over two years despite the company saying it adhered to all guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India as well as other agencies and ministries. "I know we will be in touch on Facebook", she added.

Facebook's India public policy head Ankhi Das has quit the social networking behemoth. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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