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Facebook Names Hotstar CEO Ajit Mohan as its New India Head

He is a graduate of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

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In a bid to consolidate its presence in India amid calls to curb fake news and other sinister campaigns on social media platforms, Facebook on Monday announced to appoint Ajit Mohan, CEO of popular video streaming platform Hotstar, as Managing Director and Vice-President, Facebook India.

Set to begin his Facebook innings early next year, Mohan will be responsible for driving Facebook’s overall strategy and continued investment in India where it has over 270 million users — reporting directly to the Menlo Park (California)-based headquarter and not to the Asia Pacific team.

“Ajit’s depth of experience will help us to continue to have a positive impact in India across communities, organisations, businesses and with policy makers,” David Fischer, Vice-President of Business and Marketing Partnerships, Facebook Inc, said in a statement.

The post was lying vacant for almost a year when Umang Bedi resigned as Facebook India Managing Director in October last year. Bedi is now President of Dailyhunt, a local language news and entertainment aggregator.

Ajit will lead a senior leadership team in the country to intensify the company’s efforts to help people in India connect with the people and things they care about the most.

The job comes with a huge responsibility as a time when India is set for general elections next year and the government has taken a harsh stand on not allowing social media platforms to abuse India’s election process amid calls from various stakeholders for stringent measures backed by laws on data protection and individual privacy.

Facebook-Head
Ajit Mohan.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also launched a preliminary enquiry against the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica for alleged illegal harvesting of personal data of Indians from Facebook.

“I am delighted to take on the mantle of shaping Facebook’s charter in India. It is a unique opportunity to shape the agenda of a company that has brought the world closer together in one of the most exciting markets in the world,” said Mohan.

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An alumnus of McKinsey and Company’s New York office where he worked with media companies around the globe, Mohan launched and built Hotstar, Star India’s over-the-top (OTT) service, into India’s leading premium video streaming platform.

He is a graduate of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I look forward to championing India in Facebook and working with stakeholders across the spectrum to help build deep and meaningful communities across the country,” said Mohan. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)