India will no longer be a part of Facebook's Asia-Pacific operations. The new-look local team will work directly with Facebook HQ in California.
Facebook is taking India, its largest market in the world, even more seriously.
In a first-of-its-kind structural change outside its home-market US, the social media giant has designated India as a separate region with its own six-member board reporting directly to Facebook headquarters (HQ) at Menlo Park, California. Mint reported the development.
Prior to this, India was under Facebook’s Asia-Pacific operations reporting to its Singapore HQ. This move is being seen as the social media giant’s measure to tackle an increasingly stringent regulatory network in India that requires foreign internet companies to set up a more localised presence. Incidentally, Facebook counts 294 million users in India, 90 million more than its #2 market - USA.
This move comes at a time when India is gearing up for its general elections - a massive event where the social media giant is expected to play a key role as a news and information dissemination platform. The company is already fighting the fake news menace by building stronger ecosystem partnerships.
The six-member board will consist of newly-appointed Facebook India VP & MD Ajit Mohan, the Director & Head of Global Marketing Solutions Sandeep Bhushan, Policy Director (and FB India veteran) Ankhi Das, Strategy & Operations Director Prashanth Aluru, Director of Partnerships Manish Chopra, and Director of Communications Amrit Ahuja. They will be reporting to David Fischer, who belongs to Mark Zuckerberg’s core team and looks after Facebook’s business and marketing partnerships globally.
“We are excited about the formation of our new leadership team under a new organisation structure in India… The new operating model will help us create the best experiences for people in India, drive deep partnerships with diverse stakeholders, focus on exciting consumer products and support the agenda of fostering entrepreneurship and small businesses in the country,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
That Facebook is serious about bypassing regulatory troubles in its major markets was clear last year when it appointed a former high-profile politician to lead its global corporate affairs and communication division.
“Much of corporate affairs has involved lobbying and working with government and bureaucrats. This is essentially why ex-bureaucrats and politicians are welcomed into these roles. They bring with them experience, access to people, familiarity, etc.,” a public relations and corporate communications specialist had told YourStory.