Facebook Inc’s policy head Ankhi Das has quit, months after a newspaper report suggested the way the social media network regulated political content in India by users favoured the BJP.
Announcing her resignation as Facebook’s policy head for India, South and Central Asia, managing director India Ajit Mohan said “Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service”.
Controversy erupted in August after The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook had failed to apply hate-speech restrictions to some groups and individuals owing to the fear of damage to the company’s business potential in the country.
The article set off a fierce row between the BJP and the Congress, with Rahul Gandhi and others citing them as evidence social media was being manipulated by the government.
Facebook was called before a parliamentary panel chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor but instead of Das, Mohan turned up to field questions. The company was also summoned by the Peace and Harmony committee of the Delhi Assembly but did not appear.
Also, weeks earlier, the company and Das faced questions internally from employees over how political content is regulated in its biggest market — India.
Only last week, Das appeared before a parliamentary panel and was questioned for nearly two hours over concerns over data privacy.
Das is considered to have played a crucial role in the tech giant’s rise in India since joining the company in 2011.