Facebook rejigs structure to create an India office amid tightening regulations

The new Facebook India board comprises Ajit Mohan as Vice President and Managing Director.

Facebook is overhauling its business structure to carve India out as a separate region, a first for the social media giant in any market outside the US.

As per a report by Livemint, the local office will report directly to Facebook's headquarters at Menlo Park and will no longer be part of the tech giant's Asia Pacific operations. Meanwhile, the functional heads will now report to Facebook’s India managing director Ajit Mohan, and not to their respective regional heads.

A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard - RC16103864C0

A Facebook panel is seen along a street. Image: Reuters

The move is seen as a reaction to tightening regulations on foreign internet companies in India following a rise in the spread of rumours on social media. One of the suggested regulations for the likes of Facebook was to incorporate a local office or body. Considering India is the largest market for Facebook with around 294 million users and with general elections coming up in April-May this year, Facebook had to get things moving fast. This is to ensure that the spread of fake news is kept under check. With Facebook and its messaging platform WhatsApp being used to spread misinformation, it was pertinent that Facebook had an India-based reporting team soon considering it was without an India head for quite a while now.

The new Facebook India board comprises Ajit Mohan as vice president and managing director; Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of global marketing solutions; Ankhi Das, policy director; Prashanth Aluru, strategy and operations director; Manish Chopra, director of partnerships and Amrit Ahuja, director of communications.

Facebook on 24 September 2018 had appointed Mohan, as managing director and vice-president, Facebook India. In the past, Mohan has served as Hotstar’s chief executive since April 2016. He will be responsible for driving Facebook's overall strategy and continued investment in India, reporting directly to Facebook's Menlo Park HQ.

A Facebook spokesperson speaking to the publication said, "The changes mark a significant step, reinforcing Facebook’s commitment to India and will enable more local accountability, faster and efficient decision-making, and closer connection with the headquarters."

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