New Delhi, Oct 12 : Facing intense political scrutiny in India, Facebook on Monday appointed Sunil Abraham as the Public Policy, Director for Data and Emerging Tech to lead and shape the company’s stance on tech policy issues in the country.
Abraham will be responsible for building partnerships and engagements with key stakeholders in the public policy area of data privacy, consumer protection, and AI led innovation for new products and services, the social
Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director, Facebook-India, South and Central Asia who is currently in the eye of the political storm said that Abraham’s experience in the field of technology policy and his vast research on data reforms are an ideal fit for Facebook.
“We are thrilled to have Abraham in our team as he brings deep industry and civil society knowledge and understanding. With his expertise and experience, he will help us in our mission to build transparency, accountability and empowered communities,” she said in a statement.
The appointment comes at a time when the social media platform has faced criticism over allegations that it favours the BJP-led NDA government in India to push its own business goals in Asia’s third largest economy.
Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony is also probing if “there is any role or complicity of Facebook officials in the Delhi riots” which took place earlier this year.
As part of the public policy leadership team, Abraham will contribute to important policy development initiatives and proceedings in India and the South Asia region on data protection, privacy, new and emerging tech and represent Facebook’s position in these multi-stakeholder processes.
Abraham is a serial institution builder with almost 25 years of experience in the Indian and global civil societies.
In 1998, he co-founded Mahiti Infotech, an open technology service provider for the nonprofit sector and in 2008, he co-founded the Centre for Internet and Society.
Facebook is facing scrutiny in India after a Wall Street Journal report on August 14 said that the top leadership at Facebook’s India office refused to apply the company’s own rules to politicians from the ruling BJP, despite clear violations of Facebook’s policies against incitement to violence, hate speech, and misinformation.
Facebook India’s public policy head Das reportedly “told staff members that punishing violations by politicians from Mr. Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country.”
Following the report, the opposition Congress Party raised the issue of what it calls “unholy nexus” of the ruling BJP with Facebook and WhatsApp.
Amid the row over summonses to Facebook India Vice President Ajit Mohan, the Delhi Assembly has clarified before the Supreme Court that its committee is only to make recommendations for peace and harmony in the city, and no coercive action is intended to be taken against him if he appears before the committee, which summoned him as a witness in connection with the February 2020 Delhi riots.
The committee had issued summons to Mohan on two occasions allegedly stating that his non-appearance would be treated as breach of privilege. Mohan had then moved the Supreme Court challenging these summonses.