Ankhi Das quits Facebook to pursue ‘public service’

Ankhi Das quits Facebook to pursue ‘public service’
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
27 Oct, 2020

Public policy director for Facebook in India, South and Central Asia, Ankhi Das resigned from her post on Tuesday, months after a news report alleged that the public policy team did not take down hate speech posted by members of the ruling party on the social media platform. 

Das, who has been with Facebook since October 2011, was named by the Wall Street Journal in an article in August, stating that she had “opposed applying the hate-speech rules to Mr Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting and participating in violence…” in relation to posts by BJP MLA T Raja Singh.

In a statement on Tuesday, vice president and managing director of Facebook India, Ajit Mohan said, “Ankhi has decided to step down from her role in Facebook to pursue her interest in public service.” 

He added, “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. She has been a part of my leadership team over the last two 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.”

In a letter to her colleagues at Facebook, Das said, “When I joined Facebook in 2011, internet growth in the country was woefully low and I often wondered how social and economic asymmetries will be addressed.” She further said, “After nine long years, I feel that mission has largely been met.”

Das also appeared for Facebook at the Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting last week on discussions around the Personal Data Protection Bill. 

Facebook also recently announced the appointment of Sunil Abraham, founder of non-profit for policy and academic research, Centre for Internet Society as the public policy director for data and emerging technology for the company’s India operations. It is not clear whether he will be stepping into Das’s role for the interim.