Facebook's security boss is leaving, a day after the social network revealed a political influence campaign (FB)

Alex Stamos

  • Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos is leaving the social network.
  • He’s going to Stanford University, where he’ll continue digging in to cybersecurity research. 
  • The news comes one day after Stamos played a key role in Facebook’s public disclosure of a targeted political influence campaign.

Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos is leaving the social network to take an adjunct professorship role at Stanford University, he announced on Wednesday, after three years at the company that coincided with the most tumultuous period in its history.

News of Stamos’ departure comes a day after Facebook disclosed a coordinated political misinformation campaign on its platform —a disclosure in which Stamos played a key role, briefing the media on the situation in a conference call. 

“while I will no longer have the pleasure of working side by side with my friends [at Facebook], I am encouraged that there are so many dedicated, thoughtful and skilled people continuing to tackle these challenges,” Stamos wrote in a post.

“It is critical that we as an industry live up to our collective responsibility to consider the impact of what we build, and I look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with the security and safety teams at Facebook.”

Back in March, the New York Times reported that Stamos was planning to leave in August. That report came in the midst of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which as many as 87 million Facebook users had their information improperly obtained by an outside firm.

It was reported at the time that he was clashing with other Facebook executives with how to fight targeted misinformation campaigns, especially those funded by hostile actors like Russia. 

Stamos announced his move in a Facebook post on Wednesday, saying that while he was proud of the work he did at Facebook during the past three years,  “the time has come for me to move on.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement that Stamos 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.” 

In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Stamos said that in his new role at Stanford he plans to continue digging in to ways to better fight misinformation and hoaxes as part of a research team.

“Obviously, it has been a difficult three years. I’d like to take the things I’ve learned and apply them more broadly,” Stamos told the Times. 

Stamos will also teach a course at Stanford called “Hack Lab,” which aims to give students “ a solid understanding of the most common types of attacks used in cybercrime and cyberwarfare” — as well as the opportunity to “attack a known insecure system using techniques and tools seen in the field.”

You can read Stamos’ full farewell post here.

SEE ALSO: Facebook has detected a coordinated effort to influence US politics ahead of the 2018 midterm elections

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