Facebook Inc’s top India lobbyist Ankhi Das has quit, the US tech giant said on Tuesday, months after a political controversy erupted over how the popular social media network regulates political content in the country.
Das, who was Facebook’s public policy head for India, South & Central Asia, has decided to step down to pursue her interest in public service, the company said in a statement.
Facebook and Das drew criticism from opposition lawmakers after The Wall Street Journal newspaper in August reported that she opposed applying hate-speech restrictions to some Hindu nationalist individuals and groups, fearing damage to Facebook’s business prospects.
After the article, Facebook India head Ajit Mohan defended Das and the company’s policies in an internal community post seen by Reuters.
The WSJ “article does not reflect the person I know or the extraordinarily complex issues we face everyday that benefits from Ankhi and the Public Policy team’s expertise," Mohan wrote.
The matter also prompted Facebook employees to question whether proper content regulation policies were being followed in India, leaving the company battling a public relations and political crisis.
Das was considered among India’s most influential corporate lobbying executives and had been central to Facebook’s rise in India since joining the company in 2011.
“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.