Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Facebook Security Chief Plans to Step Down

Facebook Security Chief Plans to Step Down

Alex Stamos announced the change in his work role after The New York Times reported he was leaving Facebook in the wake of internal clashes over how to deal with Russian actors using the platform to spread false or exaggerated stories to cause division among USA voters.

Updated 7:34 p.m.: In a Twitter response, Stamos says "Despite the rumors, I'm still fully engaged with my work at Facebook".

Stamos-who led the team that studied "information operations" on Facebook and Instagram in the wake of the 2016 USA election-is known as a prolific tweeter, and has long defended Facebook's actions when it came to security and political interference.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies allegedly involved in such a social media campaign on Facebook and other sites. "I'm now spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security", Stamos wrote.

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Facebook said in an emailed statement that Stamos remains the company's chief security officer, without acknowledging any change in his role.

Stamos, who marks the first top executive to leave Facebook over the Russian Federation issues, is now helping his team transition to the product and infrastructure divisions within Facebook, the employees added. "He initially said he'd leave the company then, but the Times' internal sources said Stamos" was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his duties because executives thought his departure would look bad". "He is a valued member of the team and we are grateful for all he does each and every day". Facebook has promised an investigation and Cambridge has denied any wrongdoing. Stamos-one of the more public-facing employees at the company-is parting ways over disagreements with how the company has handled its problem with misinformation.

In 2015, Stamos quit his post at Yahoo! after a little less than a year.

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