Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos to step down - report

New York Times claims departure caused by clash over handling of Russian disinformation campaigns

Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos. Photograph: Steve Marcus/File Photo/Reuters

Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos. Photograph: Steve Marcus/File Photo/Reuters


Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos is leaving the social-media company after clashing with other executives about the disclosures and handling of Russian disinformation campaigns on the platform,reports have claimed.

Mr Stamos’s responsibilities were handed to others in December, leading to his decision to leave, the the New York Times reported, citing current and former employees briefed on the matter. He was persuaded to stay through August to help with the transition of his duties and because his leaving would “look bad”, the paper said, citing people it didn’t name. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a tweet following the Times report, Mr Stamos acknowledged that his role had changed, without addressing the paper’s assertion that he plans to leave later this year.

“Despite the rumors, I’m still fully engaged with my work at Facebook,” Mr Stamos wrote. “It’s true that my role did change. I’m currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.” He didn’t respond to requests for further comment.

Mr Stamos often attempted to answer questions about Facebook and the Russia investigation in public debates on Twitter, creating one of the company’s few avenues of transparency. Still, those conversations often put Facebook in a negative spotlight. He would sometimes admit the company wasn’t doing enough. Over the weekend, Mr Stamos sent tweets on the latest controversy -- involving data-analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. He then deleted the thread, saying he was having trouble balancing sharing his own opinions with saying what was best for Facebook.

Executive turnover is rare at Menlo Park, California-based Facebook. Mr Stamos is the first high-profile executive to depart since questions arose about how the company’s platform may have been misused by foreign actors during the 2016 US presidential election.

The company’s shares on Monday posted their steepest single-day drop since 2014 as US and European officials demanded answers to reports that Cambridge Analytica received and retained information on millions of the social network’s users without their consent. - Bloomberg