Sunil Abraham, cofounder and former head of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), has joined Facebook India’s public policy team as director for data and emerging technology. Reporting to Ankhi Das, Abraham will “lead and shape the company’s stance on tech policy issues in India”.

He will contribute to policy developments in India and South Asia on “data protection, privacy, new and emerging tech and represent Facebook’s position in these multi-stakeholder processes”, and will also work on consumer protection and AI-led innovation for new products and services.

Abraham co-founded policy and research organisation CIS in 2008 and served as executive director until November last year. He had continued as interim executive director until March, when Amber Sinha replaced him.

Facebook accused to bias in favour of BJP leaders

Over the past months, Facebook’s public policy team, headed by Ankhi Das, has been under intense scrutiny. It was accused of shielding online hate speech made by leaders of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, ostensibly to protect its business prospects in India. Das opposed taking down posts by T. Raja Singh, a BJP MLA from Telangana, and other “Hindu Nationalist individuals” even though they were flagged as “hate speech” by the company’s global content moderation team.

Ever since, the company has had to depose before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT. Facebook subsequently declined to appear before the Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee, which is investigating Delhi Riots of February 2020. The company even approached the Supreme Court against the Committee’s summons, citing purported jurisdictional issues with the summons. The court has blocked the proceedings for now. Das herself has faced calls from civil rights groups to be placed on leave in light of the allegations.

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