Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Weeks after being targeted by opposition parties and media for allegedly favouring BJP, Ankhi Das quits Facebook

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Weeks after allegations of her favouring BJP surfaced, Ankhi Das resigns from Facebook

— Consider reading the article Weeks after being targeted by opposition parties and media for allegedly favouring BJP, Ankhi Das quits Facebook on OpIndia website —

One of the top executives of Facebook India, Ankhi Das, head of public policy for India, South and Central Asia has quit from her position to pursue her interests in public service, a statement released by the company said.

The statement released by Ajit Mohan, the head of Facebook India, said Ankhi Das was leaving Facebook to pursue her “interest in public service”.

He also said, “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.”

The resignation from Ankhi Das came weeks after she was alleged of interfering in the company’s content moderation policy in the country to show the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in a favourable light.

Das had appeared before a Parliamentary panel last week in connection with political content on social media and Facebook’s stand on data protection bill. According to the sources, she was grilled for more than 2 hours and was asked demanding questions by the panel members belonging to different political parties.

Last month, Facebook India Head Ajit Mohan had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, on the purported misuse of social media platforms.

Wall Street Journal article accused higher officials in Facebook of showing bias towards the BJP

Ankhi Das has been in the soup after the WSJ posted an article in which they alleged that higher officials in Facebook India are showing favourable bias towards political and condoning religious hate comments made by the users. The media house said that Facebook is not taking any action against the accounts that are linked to BJP. The article gave a means to the opposition party to attack Facebook and the BJP-led government at the centre.

Some users, including Nidhi, ex-journalist NDTV, left Facebook to mark protest. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said in a tweet that he would raise the issue in front of the Parliamentary Committee and said, “Our Parliamentary committee will, in the normal course, consider testimony under the topic “Safeguarding citizens’ rights & prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms”. The subject is squarely within the IT Cmt’s mandate & Facebook has been summoned in the past.”

Soon after the publication of the WSJ report, Das filed a complaint with the Delhi Police Cyber Cell unit after she allegedly received threats and offensive messages on social media. The former Facebook Public Policy head for India, South and Central Asia had attributed the threats to the publication of the WSJ report. Das has sought police protection and called for the immediate arrest of the accused named by her.

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