Ankhi Das, director of Public Policy for Facebook India, South and Central Asia, has reportedly apologised to Muslim employees in the company at a town hall meeting for a post last year which labelled Muslims as a “degenerate community”.
The post also said that for Muslims, “nothing except the purity of religion and implementation of Shariah matter.” Das has also deleted the said post from her account.
“Dear friends – The intent of my personal Facebook post was not to denigrate Islam. It was to reflect my deep belief in celebrating feminism and civic participation. I value all perspectives I have heard over the past days about how the post was received and as a result, I have deleted the post. I genuinely regret any hurt it may have caused, including to my Muslim colleagues in the company,” Das wrote in an internal message to employees, which was obtained by Buzzfeed News.
The contentious post was shared by Das in late 2019 and was written by a former Indian police officer in response to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests which had broken out in the country that time.
Facebook India has been at the receiving end of severe scrutiny, after a Wall Street Journal story, titled, ‘Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics’, revealed how Das, opted against removing incendiary posts from politicians of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to seek favours for the platform from the Indian government. Since the story broke, Facebook has been criticised by Indian opposition.
While the Indian National Congress (INC) wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding a high-level inquiry into the allegations, the peace and harmony committee of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, dominated by members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have initiated a probe into the hateful content on Facebook which allegedly fuelled discontent during the Delhi riots in February this year.
According to a Reuters report, employees of Facebook wrote an internal letter to the company’s leadership team, calling on them to denounce “anti-Muslim bigotry” and ensure more policy consistency. The letter also demanded that Facebook’s policy teams everywhere include a diverse representation.