comscore Facebook India managing director Kirthiga Reddy to step down; is Free Basics to blame?
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Facebook India managing director Kirthiga Reddy to step down; is Free Basics to blame?

Facebook India managing director Kirthiga Reddy has announced she would be stepping down from her role over the next 6-12 months. The announcement comes close on the heels of India banning Free Basics, a major Facebook initiative to offer free access to Facebook and a few other handpicked services.

kirthiga-reddy

Facebook’s India managing director, Krithiga Reddy, has announced she would be stepping down from her post. She was Facebook’s first employee in India and set up the social networking giant’s operations in the country. India accounts for over 130 million monthly active users for Facebook, one of its largest and fastest growing markets. Reddy announced the news via a Facebook post. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!

Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?

She would be moving back to the US over the next 6-12 months. “I have also begun to explore new opportunities at Facebook back at Menlo Park,” she wrote. Reddy would continue to head India operations for the time being while Facebook looks for her successor. Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg

“I could not be more excited about where the Facebook business is in India, where we are going and what s to come. Over the last six years, starting as the first employee for Facebook in India, I have had the privilege to be part of our amazing growth journey — from our operations in Hyderabad to being a business partner for our clients as they build their brands and grow their business in this mobile-first world,” Reddy wrote on her post.

The timing of the announcement certainly raises questions whether it had anything to do with the failure of Facebook’s Free Basics program. Yesterday Facebook announced it had stopped Free Basics in India after TRAI banned it along with other zero-rated services.

RELATED: Free Basics is no longer available in India, Facebook confirms

Facebook had been embroiled in a lengthy and public battle with TRAI and pro net neutrality activists for its Free Basics service, which it had launched with RCom. The battle saw Facebook rolling out a multi-million dollar advertising blitzkrieg campaign as well as attempting to pressurize TRAI to rule in its favor by making its users send emails to the regulator. Facebook had claimed its users had sent over 11 million emails but TRAI disputed the number.

TRAI eventually slammed Facebook for converting its consultation paper on differential pricing into an “orchestrated opinion poll.”

While disappointed with TRAI’s decision to ban Free Basics, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had reaffirmed his commitment to India and the country’s importance for Facebook.

“Connecting India is an important goal we won’t give up on, because more than a billion people in India don’t have access to the internet. We know that connecting them can help lift people out of poverty, create millions of jobs and spread education opportunities. We care about these people, and that’s why we’re so committed to connecting them. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. That mission continues, and so does our commitment to India,” Zuckerberg had then written.

Image Credit: Krithiga Reddy

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  • Published Date: February 12, 2016 10:39 PM IST
  • Updated Date: February 12, 2016 10:56 PM IST



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