In the wake of another bad news cycle for Facebook, the company has found an unlikely ally: the former chief information security officer whose exit was responsible for a previous round of controversy.
Alex Stamos has been defending the social media giant following a Nov. 14 report in the New York Times that revealed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had disregarded systemic problems within the social media platform. Zuckerberg and Sandberg “ignored warning signs” that foreign operatives could exploit Facebook’s reach to disrupt elections, disseminate propaganda and inspire “campaigns of hate,” the Times reported. Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg have defended the company since the report’s publication.
Stamos largely has stood alongside them, despite a reportedly acrimonious departure in which he wrote a note to colleagues blaming Facebook’s current woes on “tens of thousands of small decisions made over the last decade.” In an editorial published Saturday in the Washington Post, Stamos allowed that Facebook should have responded to foreign meddling “much earlier and handled disclosure in a more transparent manner.” But he also passed blame on journalists, government leaders and the U.S. intelligence community for failing to come to grips early enough with Russian efforts to divide public opinion.