Facebook’s head of India announced she will step down and plans to return to the US in the next six to twelve months.
Facebook India managing director Kirthiga Reddy said on Friday she will return to the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Reuters reported.
The announcement comes days after India’s telecoms regulator ruled against differential data pricing following a national debate and furious lobbying by supporters and opponents of Facebook’s Free Basics’ zero rating service.
The verdict was greeted with enthusiasm by net neutrality supporters but leaves doubt hanging over Facebook’s internet.org strategy in India, at least in its current form.
Free Basics is a product of the internet.org initiative that offers users free access to a range of data services, including the social network.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “disappointed” with the regulator’s decision to restrict programmes that provide free access to data, which will impact its Free Basics service.
He said the decision would not deter Facebook from its goal of “connecting India” and “help lift people out of poverty, create millions of jobs and spread education opportunities”.
“Everyone in the world should have access to the internet,” he wrote in a Facebook post, adding that “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. That mission continues, and so does our commitment to India.”
Facebook said that Reddy did not work on its Free Basic service and has been planning to return to the US for some time.