An FIR has been filed against Facebook’s policy chief in India Ankhi Das by a Chhattisgarh-based journalist for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and inciting communal violence. Two people who allegedly posted threatening comments against the journalist have also been named in the FIR.
The case was lodged on the complaint of Awesh Tiwari, a Raipur-based journalist and also a member of the Congress government’s fake news committee.
“I am the state head of Swaraj Express and we had put up a post regarding the Wall Street Journal’s expose of how Ankhi Das at Facebook pressured her juniors to not implement hate speech clause on political posts to keep her relationship with the ruling party intact,” Tiwari said in the FIR.
Following the post, Tiwari said he started getting threats over calls, messages from people who all said they were calling for Ankhi Das.
The FIR has been registered under Indian Penal Code Sections 295(a) (deliberate and malicious acts intended to
outrage religious feelings), 505(1)(c) (with intent to incite), or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit offence against any other class or community), 506 (criminal intimidation), 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention).
In her complaint, Das said: “Since August 14, I have been receiving violent threats to my life and body, and I am extremely disturbed by the relentless harassment meted out to me by the accused persons. The content, which even includes my photograph, is evidently threatening to my life and body and I fear for my safety as well as that of my family members. The content also maligns my reputation based on a news article and I am subjected to name-calling, cyber bullying and eve-teasing online.”
The WSJ had reported that Facebook India’s Public Policy Director Ankhi Das told staff members that “punishing violations” by BJP politicians “would damage the company’s business prospects in the country, Facebook’s biggest global market by number of users”.