Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Steps Down

Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is leaving the company this month to join Stanford University as an adjunct professor.

He will also become part of a faculty working group called Information Warfare, which will examine the role of security and technology in society.

In March it was reported that an internal dispute over Facebook’s role in spreading disinformation led to Stamos’s impending departure.

According to sources, Stamos wanted to be more upfront with the public about the Russian interference, but was met with resistance by colleagues. Facebook’s policy team thought the company should be more cautious with what it disclosed, setting up a battle between the two arms of the company. The policy group is headed by COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others in December. In January, the majority of Stamos’ security team was moved into groups that were overseen by other executives. His departure was deferred until August so that he could oversee the transition of his responsibilities, and because executives thought his departure would look bad for the company.

“These are really challenging issues, and I’ve had some disagreements with all of my colleagues, including other executives,” Stamos said in a statement at the time.

Sandberg said in a statement on Wednesday (August 1) that Facebook would continue to work with Stamos in his new job at Stanford.

“Alex has played an important role in how we approach security challenges and helped us build relationships with partners so we can better address the threats we face,” she said.

Stamos said in an interview his last day at Facebook would be August 17. At Stanford, he plans to study the upcoming midterms and the role of technology, as well as election security and the topic of disinformation. He also plans to teach a class for law and policy students on how hackers attack.

Of his time at Facebook, he said, “Obviously, it has been a difficult three years. I’d like to take the things I’ve learned and apply them more broadly.”


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