Monday, October 11, 2021

Facebook India’s top engineer resigns amid accusations of ‘shadow-banning’

Mr. Vyas has been with Facebook for a little over two years. Before Facebook India, he had a stint with Twitter and more recently founded a Twitter-based influencer platform called Twidroyd.

The news comes after a report by The New York Times on Thursday found evidence of a “shadow-banning” on Facebook. The paper had interviewed multiple Facebook employees who had worked on algorithms that suggested videos and articles that were more likely to be “right-leaning” than those of liberal opinion. The paper also found that the bias affected two news outlets in particular: the news site Sputnik and the pro-Russian BBC.

In response to the accusations, Mr. Zuckerberg said the company had found and blocked as many as 3,000 potential applications that had either had their accounts shut down or were suspected of violating policies.

“We have been conducting comprehensive internal audits of how we guard against bias and have also been working directly with outside experts on this topic,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We have found no evidence of systemic political bias in our processes. But even if we found it, the evidence may not be conclusive. And we do not want to risk being wrong.”

Following the Times story, Mr. Zuckerberg deleted comments on his Facebook page and expressed sorrow over the reports. He said that Facebook’s editorial policies and practices had been “not just clear but also strong.”

On Friday, The Guardian published a tweet-storm of what it said were allegations of bias at Facebook. Mr. Vyas denied the Guardian’s assertions.

I’m saddened to announce that Sandeep Vyas is leaving to start a new startup. We built something that makes a difference and believes in diversity, and I believe that’s important. — Sandeep (@SandeepVyas) August 31, 2018

Sorry to bum everyone out but I’m putting the company on notice! — Sandeep (@SandeepVyas) August 31, 2018

Last October, CNN reported that Mr. Vyas had led Facebook India’s drive to employ more women in tech. “In fact, most of the women who came on board initially didn’t last,” The New York Times reported. But Mr. Vyas responded with a statement to CNN, saying, “We are committed to creating an inclusive and relevant workplace that encourages diversity.”

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