FIRST ONE BITES THE DUST

Facebook security head Alex Stamos is reportedly leaving the company

Facebook security chief Alex Stamos is reportedly leaving the company after clashing with other members of its leadership over whether Facebook should be more proactive in handling its role in disseminating falsehoods.

The New York Times reported the news, citing anonymous sources within the company. The transition process has reportedly been underway for months, and Stamos is set to leave in August. He’d be the first high-profile employee to quit over disinformation on the platform. Stamos joined Facebook in 2015 from Yahoo, where he had been chief information security officer.

The Times says Stamos had been a forceful advocate for investigating and revealing the company’s role in Russian meddling on the platform “to the consternation” of executives such as COO Sheryl Sandberg.

We still haven’t heard a peep from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or Sandberg on the latest revelations about how data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica exploited the platform. In a statement released Friday (March 16), the company denied there had been a breach, saying “everyone involved gave their consent.” However, it said today (March 19) that it was hiring a forensic firm to investigate Cambridge Analytica.

The silence shouldn’t last for long. Political leaders in the UK and the US have expressed outrage over how Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data from 50 million Facebook users. US senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to Zuckerberg today (March 19) seeking information about Facebook’s policies on sharing user data with third parties. Wyden set a deadline of April 13.

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