Facebook's Top Public Policy Executive in India Steps Down
By Newley Purnell
A Facebook Inc. executive in India who was at the center of a
political storm over the company's policy on anti-Muslim hate
speech on the platform is leaving the company effective today, the
company said Tuesday.
Ankhi Das, the social-media giant's top public-policy executive
in its biggest market by users, said in an internal Facebook post
that she had decided to step down from Facebook to pursue her
interest in public service, according to the post supplied by the
The Wall Street Journal reported in August that Ms. Das had
opposed applying Facebook's hate-speech rules to a politician from
the ruling Hindu nationalist party, along with at least three other
Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for
promoting or participating in violence, according to current and
Following the article's publication, Indian lawmakers questioned
Facebook officials, while Facebook's own staff internally pushed
for a review of how it handles problematic content.
Facebook later banned a member of the ruling party, T. Raja
Singh, who the Journal identified as posting material that violated
hate-speech rules. Mr. Singh in Facebook posts and public
appearances has said Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot,
called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques.
A subsequent Journal article revealed that Ms. Das made internal
postings over several years describing her support for the ruling
party and criticizing its main rival, behavior some staff saw as
conflicting with the company's pledge to remain neutral in
elections around the world.
"Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to
pursue her interest in public service," Facebook's managing
director for India, Ajit Mohan, said in a statement. Ms. Das 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," he said.
In her post, Ms. Das said she had "decided to step down from
Facebook after long service to its mission of connecting people and
"Thank you, Mark for creating something beautiful for the
world," she wrote, referring to Facebook Chief Executive Mark
India is a key market for Facebook, which isn't allowed to
operate in China, the only other nation with more than one billion
people. Facebook said in April it would spend $5.7 billion on a new
partnership with an Indian telecom operator to expand operations in
the country -- its biggest foreign investment.
Write to Newley Purnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 27, 2020 10:25 ET (14:25 GMT)
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