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The imminent departure of Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, is a reflection of the leadership squabbles bedeviling the social network, according to Nicole Perlroth, Sheera Frenkel, and Scott Shane, reporting for The New York Times.
A lot of the disputes are centered on how much Facebook should disclose about the extent that rogue nations abused its platform and discussions about organizational changes prior to the 2018 midterm elections.
Stamos was espousing more disclosure over Russian interference on its platform and organizational reshuffling to address the issue better but his plans met with stiff opposition from colleagues. He would be the first high-ranking officer to resign from Facebook since reports of fake news and misinformation on its site were made public. But the spate of controversies hogging the company is taking its toll on other company executives, who reportedly are evaluating their legacies and reputation now that Facebook’s public image has plummeted. Some executives maintain that Facebook should have kept quiet, since other social networks, such as Twitter, were not as vocal about it and were spared the public outrage stemming from the issue.
Colleagues have prevailed upon Stamos to stay with Facebook until August 2018 so that his departure would not look bad to the public and the media. He is currently overseeing the transition of his team (which is now down to 3 people) to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. He transferred to Facebook from Yahoo in June 2015, and by June 2016 had put together a team of engineers to probe Russian activity on Facebook site’s, the same month that the Democratic Party announced that its servers have been attacked by Russian hackers.
His team found more evidence of Russian interference on Facebook’s platform in the ensuing months and by the spring of 2017, it had become a major issue for the company. Stamos was batting for more disclosure but his efforts were stymied by Elliott Schrage, Facebook’s vice-president of communications and policy, who was against blaming Russia without very strong evidence.