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Civil rights groups ask for Ankhi Das to be placed on leave pending internal investigation

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A group of civil rights organisations from across the globe have called for Ankhi Das, Facebook head of public policy in India, to be sent on leave in light of allegations of political bias against her. The 41 groups wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, asking for "decisive action" to address Facebook India's "bias and failure to address dangerous content in India". They asked that an ongoing internal audit at Facebook on its impact on human rights in India be overseen by the headquarters to prevent influence by the company's Indian leadership. The groups that signed the letter include Fight For The Future, Indian American Muslim Council, ad.watch, Media Justice, and Southern Poverty Law Center. Last month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had reported that Facebook had refused to take down hate speech made by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in order to avoid damage to its business prospects in India. Facebook India's public policy team, headed by Ankhi Das, had reportedly opposed taking down posts made by T Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, and at three other Hindu nationalists. Singh had called for the murder of Rohingya immigrants and called Muslims "traitors". Last week, Facebook finally banned Singh from all its platforms, taking down all profiles and groups dedicated to him. What are the groups' demands? Ongoing Internal audit should be overseen by headquarters: The civil rights groups noted that Facebook was conducting an internal audit to assess Facebook's impact on human…

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