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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Ankhi Das Quits Facebook After Being Accused of Biasedness Towards BJP

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Zareen Afridi
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Facebook India’s Public Policy head Ankhi Das who was dealing with Facebook India, South and Central Asia regions, resigned on Tuesday. She has been accused of favouritism towards BJP and compromised Facebook’s policies in lieu of giving upper hand towards hate-spewing BJP-pro pages and content on the massive social networking site.

The news of her resignation was made public by Facebook India head, Ajit Mohan who announced her resignation due to ‘her interests in public service’. Ajit praised her citing her contribution towards company’s growth as she was one of the earliest employees of Facebook India and had been associated with the company for 9 years. 

On August 14, The Wall Street Journal had published an article stating Ankhi Das had been swishing hate speech circumventing on Facebook and had not taken adequate measures to stop its circulation, despite the fact that Facebook has strong anti-hate speech policies. This had put the repute of Facebook at stake but Das was strongly inclined towards the saffron party.

There was a parliamentary session led by Shashi Tharoor who summoned Ankhi Das for questioning, last week. She was grilled for around two hours, asking all about her stance for the party and trying to gauge her ethics for a non-biased company like Facebook. Interestingly, Facebook head Ajit Mohan was also summoned for strict question in September itself by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on information Technology, for the issues on the same lines. Sometime back in August, both Das and Mohan were grilled by a panel of the Delhi Assembly when the issue of Facebook’s inaction on hate speech came into light. Since then the Delhi panel was in discussion and rounds of questioning took place. 

Facebook has not been silent; it had taken action and removed 14 out of 44 pages flagged for posting unacceptable content and propagating hate speeches. Quite astonishingly, BJP has been found as the top advertiser on Facebook under the domain of ‘social issues, elections and politics’ from past 18 months. 

BJP is clearly trying to use Facebook as a bait to lure viewers and incite them by constantly provoking their content, as and when someone logs into Facebook. These IT tactics have been deployed by the technical and PR team of BJP, undoubtedly omnipresent on a social media giant as Facebook that sees billions of viewership everyday. 

Facebook as an ethical company must resort to means to verify such political parties trying to lure in potential voters by strictly monitoring the posts and content that is made over it, otherwise the saffronization of the blue Facebook is deemed to be possible. 

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