Facebook has been accused of some pretty shoddy behaviour in the past, including allowing hate speech and misinformation to thrive on its platform, under the guise of free speech. One the of the biggest controversies surrounding the company, second perhaps to only the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, was started when a WSJ report claimed that Facebook has been showing favouritism to India’s ruling party, the BJP. This led to widespread rebuke of the company in the country, with top company executive Ankhi Das bearing a lot of the brunt. Today, Das has decided to leave the company for good, saying that she wants to focus on public service.
Das says that the current controversy has nothing to do with her decision, but the timing seems a little coincidental.
“There is an enormous amount I have learnt from incredibly smart and talented people in the company, particularly from people on the policy team. This is a special company and a special group of people. Thank you, Mark for creating something beautiful for the world. I hope I have served you and the company well. I know we will be in touch on Facebook,” she wrote to company employees.
Das has been facing allegations of allowing hate speech to promulgate on Facebook in India, especially if it is coming from politicians affiliated to the BJP party. It has been alleged that this was done because censoring content from the ruling party might hurt the company’s business prospects in India, which is one of the biggest markets for the platform.
Over the months, both of the top parties of the country started accusing Facebook of showing bias. This ultimately led to Das appearing before several panels in recent weeks where the company has been asked questions on a wide-range topics by Indian politicians. In a recent meeting, Facebook was grilled on topics like the portability of data, advertisement revenue generated from India and corporate tax paid by the company in India.
“Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services,” Facebook said in a statement announcing Das’s departure.