Accessibility links

Breaking News

Facebook Official Who Pushed To Air Russian Election Posts Quits

Facebook had already taken away Alex Stamos' responsibility to counter government-sponsored disinformation by reassigning him in December.

A Facebook executive who strongly pushed for investigation and disclosure of Russian activities on the site allegedly aimed at influencing elections will reportedly leave the company in August.

The New York Times, Reuters, and other media reported on March 19 that Facebook chief information-security officer Alex Stamos is leaving the company because of disagreements over how the social network should deal with its role in spreading disinformation.

Facebook had already taken away Stamos' responsibility to counter government-sponsored disinformation by reassigning him in December, prompting him to decide to leave the company, reports said.

Stamos confirmed in a March 19 tweet that he is leaving and that his role at the company has changed, but he said he is still fully engaged in his new tasks focusing on emerging risks and election security on the site.

The New York Times, citing current and former Facebook employees, said Stamos was a strong advocate for disclosing Russian activity on the platform, often to the consternation of top executives, including Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The Times said company executives persuaded Stamos to stay through August because they thought his exit would look bad and to smooth the transition for his successor.

Facebook has been criticized by members of Congress for allegedly allowing Russia to use it as a tool to sow divisions among U.S. voters and to try to sway votes through polarizing and sometimes false news posts during the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies allegedly involved in such a social-media campaign on Facebook and other sites.

Legislators and government officials in other countries, including Britain, France, and Mexico, have also charged that Russia used Facebook to try to sway elections in their countries.

Based on reporting by The New York Times, Reuters, and AFP