Alex Stamos, Facebook’s outspoken chief security officer, is leaving the company, according to a report Monday by The New York Times.
The apparent reason for the departure is Facebook’s handling of misinformation and disclosures related to the company’s investigation into Russian trolls abusing Facebook’s services during the 2016 US election. Stamos reportedly clashed with top executives including COO Sheryl Sandberg over how the company should handle the situation.
According to the Times report, Stamos initially told the company he wanted to leave in December, after his day-to-day duties were reassigned. He was convinced to stay until August to help see through the transition of his responsibilities.
Stamos responded to the report on Twitter, saying, “Despite the rumors, I’m still fully engaged with my work at Facebook. It’s true that my role did change. I’m currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.” Stamos didn’t say whether he had plans to leave the company.
The reported departure comes as Facebook deals with a controversy over Cambridge Analytica and its misuse of data from 50 million Facebook accounts.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
This isn’t the first time Stamos has left a C-suite position at a major tech company in the midst of controversy. Stamos left Yahoo in 2015, and Reuters later reported that he left in protest of Yahoo complying with .
Stamos made waves on Twitter this weekend when he criticised the New York Times and the Guardian for its portrayal of data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook user data. The tweets said the situation, in which the firm accessed information from millions of Facebook accounts, was not a data breach or a leak. Then, he deleted those tweets.
Known for bursts of candidness on Twitter, Stamos has tweeted out his thoughts on a range of issues during his tenure at Facebook. In October, he let fly a string of tweets about the news media’s coverage of artificial intelligence technology, which he said painted Silicon Valley unfairly as clueless.
“Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral. Nobody is not aware of the risks,” he wrote.
This is a developing story…