Facebook India exec files FIR over ‘violent threats’

Updated on Aug 18, 2020 02:59 AM IST

In her complaint, Das said the threats began on Friday evening after the WSJ report appeared. The alleged harassment included death threats on Twitter, threats on Facebook and circulation of her photographs on social media with defamatory comments.

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo.(Reuters File Photo)
Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo.(Reuters File Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Delhi Police’s cyber cell on Monday registered an FIR on a complaint by Ankhi Das, public policy director of Facebook India, who alleged receiving death threats and social media abuse after a report in the Wall Street Journal suggested the company displayed bias towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in censoring hate speech.

In her complaint, Das said she was receiving threats and demanded an FIR under provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to sexually coloured remarks, vulgar gestures through words, and criminal intimidation.

“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,” she said.

She also demanded police protection at her home in south Delhi.

Das emailed her complaint to the cyber cell unit of South Delhi district police. Delhi Police’s specialised Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) team examined her complaint and registered an FIR.

“On a complaint regarding online threats and harassment received from Ms. Ankhi Das, Facebook India, a case has been registered under relevant sections of law on August 17 and investigation has been taken up by CyPAD Unit of Delhi Police,” a statement released by the police said.

The police neither commented on the sections applied in the FIR, nor on her request for security.

In her complaint, Das said the threats began on Friday evening after the WSJ report appeared. The alleged harassment included death threats on Twitter, threats on Facebook and circulation of her photographs on social media with defamatory comments.

In her email, 49-year-old Das attached links to two alleged threats on Twitter, two on Facebook, screenshots of other forms of harassment and the link to the WSJ article that she alleged was being further published in a “mischaracterised and distorted manner” by publications in India.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “We take the safety and security of our employees seriously and care for their well-being. However, we do not comment on individual employee matters.”

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