Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has distanced himself from the controversial comments on India made by social media giant’s board member Marc Andreessen, saying they were “deeply upsetting” and did not represent the company’s thinking.
“I want to respond to Marc Andreessen’s comments about India yesterday. I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
His comments came after Andreessen made a objectionable tweet after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ruled against Facebook’s free but restricted internet programme.
“Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?” Andreessen tweeted, immediately evoking a sharp reaction from Indians.
Andreessen quickly deleted the tweet and apologised through a series of tweets yesterday.
“Last night on Twitter, I made an ill-informed and ill-advised comment about Indian politics and economics. To be clear, I am 100 per cent opposed to colonialism, and 100 per cent in favor of independence and freedom, in any country, including India,” he said later in a series of tweets.
“I am a huge admirer of the nation of India and the Indian people, who have been nothing but kind and generous to me for many years. I apologise for any offence my comment caused, and withdraw it in full and without reservation. I will leave all future commentary on all of these topics to people with more knowledge and experience than me,” Andreessen said.
As the controversy refused to die down, Zuckerberg tried to distance himself from the comments made by his board member.
“India has been personally important to me and Facebook. Early on in my thinking about our mission, I traveled to India and was inspired by the humanity, spirit and values of the people. It solidified my understanding that when all people have the power to share their experiences, the entire world will make progress,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Facebook stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future, he said.
“But to shape the future we need to understand the past. As our community in India has grown, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the need to understand India’s history and culture,” Zuckerberg said.
“I’ve been inspired by how much progress India has made in building a strong nation and the largest democracy in the world, and I look forward to strengthening my connection to the country,” Zuckerberg wrote.