Facebook makes India a separate region on par with Menlo Park

Chennai: With Facebook’s India userbase growing with each passing day, the social media major has carved out India as a separate region and has appointed a six-member board bringing it on par with its Menlo Park headquarters in the US.

The move came as a major overhaul of Facebook’s business structure. The India board will also be the first such for Facebook in any of its markets outside of the US. The local office will no longer be part of Facebook’s Asia Pacific operations and will report directly to Menlo Park.

The move is seen as a reaction to tightening regulations on foreign internet companies in India following a spurt in the spread of deadly rumours on social media, despite India’s status getting elevated in recent times in the operations of the social media giant. It must also be noted that India’s regualation require such companies to incorporate a local entity.

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.

Director of Global Sales Organization (Customer Partnerships and Agencies), Siddharth Banerjee and director of Small and Medium Business, Archana Vohra, will also join the company but will not be part of the board. They will report to Bhushan.

Mohan, who joined Facebook from Hotstar earlier this month, will report to David Fischer, who is part of Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s core team and oversees business and marketing partnerships globally.

India is the largest market for Facebook outside of the US and the changes at Facebook are also expected to accelerate localised consumer products and stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the country, reports stated.

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, reports said.

Further, with general elections due by May in the country, reports added that Facebook will need to show deeper commitment to preventing people from using the platform to spread fake news to manipulate elections.

Userbase status
Facebook currently has two billion monthly users around the world, with India being the second largest market for the firm with 201 million active users, second only to the US.

Despite Indian the user count reaching 241 million, the number of active users is less, with only 19 per cent of the Indian population using Facebook actively.

However, in the first half of 2018, active users in India grew by 27 per cent, according to Facebook. This is higher than the 12 per cent growth seen in the US in the corresponding period.

NT Bureau