“We Need To Be Willing To Pick Sides”

Stamos only vaguely alluded to such clashes in his note, stating he’s “had passionate discussions with some other execs” without elaborating further on whom those conversations were with or what they were specifically about. along with while his note does not directly mention Zuckerberg, of which’s clear of which some of the directives are meant for the Facebook CEO, particularly those around de-emphasizing growth along with revenue along with doing the company’s products less invasive.

Stamos’s impassioned rhetoric along with laundry list of problems Facebook needs to tackle make his departure at This kind of crucial moment inside company’s history all the more remarkable. For some familiar with the company’s current culture, there will be concern of which Facebook will be losing a voice of reason at just the wrong time.

“I think of which’s actually important at any company to have folks inside who challenge the status quo,” a former senior employee told BuzzFeed News. “With Facebook’s complexity, you need people who can stand up along with advocate. Alex incorporates a tremendous depth of expertise along with reputation — he’s the person you’d want in your corner to help get the company on track. If you didn’t want him, who else would likely you want? of which’s a big loss.”

A Difficult Week

Alex Stamos, Friday, March 23, 2018

At noon on Monday, a NY Times reporter I have long known along with respected gave me a ring.

“Alex, This kind of will probably be the most difficult discussion we’ve ever had.” She was right.

She told me of which four anonymous sources had told her a variety of things of which she was working into one story of which would likely post later of which day. I spent the next thirty minutes shooting down several completely false accusations along with trying to prevent the true facts through being woven into a misleading narrative. I pointed out to her of which, if true, her story would likely still be a scoop in several days along with asked if she could me along with Facebook more time to work with them to tell an accurate tale of our challenging last couple of years.

About three hours later, with me frantically working with our comms team to get on-the-record quotes to the reporters, the first stub edition of the story went out that has a headline of which implied of which I had just quit Facebook out of anger. This kind of led to thousands of tweets along with hundreds of stories based upon the initial, incomplete report, as well as a tearful call through my mother who thought I had been fired. The original NY Times headlines along with story were corrected many times, nevertheless despite our outreach to some other outlets the initial framing calcified into conventional wisdom.

Some fact checking.


Did you quit?
Look up, will be my name greyed out? If not, then I’m still a Facebook employee (or our deprovisioning process actually needs some work).

At some point, I will leave, along with This kind of answer will become a bit ironic, nevertheless of which will be absolutely untrue of which I quit on Monday, along with today I’m still trying to do my best by our users.


Have you had passionate discussions with some other execs?
Yes. Have we met?


Have those disagreements been about investigating or disclosing Russian activity?
the globe has changed through underneath us in many ways. One change has been the thrusting of private tech companies into the struggle between nation-states. Traditionally, the standard has been to report malicious activity by adversary nations to US law enforcement. We are moving into a world where the major platforms are going to be supposed to provide our findings, attribution along with data directly to the public, doing us a visible participant inside battle between cyberwarfare titans.

This kind of will be an uncomfortable transition, along with have not always agree with the compromises we have struck inside process. of which being said, I believe my colleagues have all approached the process in not bad faith, along with together we have sorted through legitimate equities of which needed to be weighed.

Did Sheryl tell you not to investigate or disclose Russian activity? Absolutely not. I have rejected This kind of claim, on-the-record, multiple times to multiple reporters along with on Twitter. Unfortunately, we are living in a media moment where sometimes an anonymous accusation will be printed over the on-record denial of a direct participant. The Times, to their credit, removed a paragraph of which had been written before my on-record statement had been provided, which has become its own meta-controversy (/sound inception_trombone.mp3).


Was there a reorganization of the security team?
Yes, here will be my post announcing of which in January.

Are you leaving in August because of This kind of change? I initiated the discussion of changing the structure of the InfoSec team just before Thanksgiving 2017. This kind of was due to my concerns of which organizational issues impaired our election security work in 2016. While the outcome of This kind of discussion was not one I proposed, at the time I committed myself to doing the transition as smooth as possible along with trying to set the completely new teams up for success. I am genuinely proud of the capable, diverse security teams we have built along with I truly want my colleagues to continue to be successful in their vital work.

The re-org, did, however, leave me that has a challenge, in of which of which created a big mismatch between the responsibilities I felt carrying the Chief Security Officer title along with the potential for big impact I could have through my redefined role. This kind of conundrum was pretty obvious to many, along with when people internally asked if I was leaving I rather openly told them of which I was committed to staying through August. of which was the truth; I had not made up my mind to leave, along with I thought setting a date eight months inside future was responsible along with reassuring about the stability of the team. Unfortunately, somebody leaked the fact in a manner meant to turn an eight-month commitment into a rage-quitting.

Are you leaving because of Cambridge Analytica? No, of which makes no sense if your look at the calendar.


How are you feeling?
Aww, how sweet, thanks for asking! I feel like shit.

I am extremely uncomfortable with the “heroic Alex” narrative the media will be using to beat up on Facebook for many reasons:


1. of which will be undeserved.
I was the Chief Security Officer during the 2016 election season, along with I deserve as much blame (or more) as any some other exec at the company.


2. of which erases the work of the true heroes
. If anybody deserves credit for the not bad things we did, of which will be the members of the threat intelligence team who first spotted along with stopped Russian activity in 2016, along with the huge cross-functional group who actually studied along with understood This kind of problem in 2017. Just because I approve the expense reports of the first group along with was part of the second does not give me any special virtue.


3. Heroes need villains.
This kind of narrative will be favorite not because people like me, nevertheless because of which harms Facebook. At least one person seems to be trying specifically to hurt Sheryl by mixing in leaked facts with untrue allegations.


4. The media loves to build up heroes before tearing them down
. We Greeks invented This kind of narrative device, the fatal flaw, along with I know of which at least one person will be pushing lies about me to journalists. Aside through This kind of being hurtful on a personal scale, I realize of which the more I’m narratively built up, the further the media eventually gets to pull me down (which they will also frame as bad for Facebook).

Most importantly, This kind of narrative absolves us of the hard things we have to do to win back the globe’s trust. of which would likely be actually simple to believe of which the outcomes of arguments between a handful of people got us to This kind of point, nevertheless the truth will be of which we need to all own This kind of. The problem the company will be facing today are due to tens of thousands of little decisions made over the last decade within an incentive structure of which was not predicated on our 2018 threat profile. While of which has been disconcerting to hear anger along with sadness inside voices of our colleagues This kind of week, I also take heart in how widespread our desire has become to align ourselves inside completely new landscape. I saw This kind of shift in many executives last year, as they clearly recognized the emerging imperatives to prioritize security, safety, integrity along with trust over all else, nevertheless no number of all-hands or corporate goals was going to be able turn This kind of huge ship without a bottom-up change in culture.

So at This kind of point we need to turn of which angst into action. We need to change the metrics we measure along with the goals we shoot for. We need to adjust PSC to reward not shipping when of which will be the wiser decision. We need to think adversarially in every process, product along with engineering decision we make. We need to build a user experience of which conveys honesty along with respect, not one optimized to get people to click yes to giving us more access. We need to intentionally not collect data where possible, along with to keep of which only as long as we are using of which to serve people. We need to find along with stop adversaries who will be copying the playbook they saw in 2016. We need to listen to people (including internally) when they tell us a feature will be creepy or point out a negative impact we are having inside globe. We need to deprioritze short-term growth along with revenue along with to explain to Wall Street why of which will be ok. We need to be willing to pick sides when there are clear moral or humanitarian issues. along with we need to be open, honest along with transparent about challenges along with what we are doing to fix them.

I have heard all of these improvements discussed among executives over the last year, along with I think we’re in a place where such aims are realistic along with achievable. If any company will be up to these challenges, of which’s ours. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to work with talented people.


Alex, blink twice if you are being held hostage as you write This kind of.
I wrote This kind of post myself, along with did not run of which by anyone. I have to thank Schrep for pulling me aside, asking how I am along with suggesting of which I speak to the company through my heart, nevertheless he has not seen or endorsed This kind of post.


at This kind of point what? Are you staying?
I honestly don’t know. My standard for any job has been whether I am being effective in my position, true to my beliefs, along with present for my family. My fear will be of which stories like This kind of one can become self-fulling, along with my ability to represent the company publicly has been compromised by This kind of cloud hanging over my head. To the last criteria, I have three children under twelve along with I’ve come to the realization of which I’ve spent 75% of my youngest child’s life as the CISO of companies in battle with the Russian intelligence services. This kind of isn’t conducive to being a great parent.

If I do leave, I promise to be open along with honest. Wherever I am, I am always available to anybody looking to discuss how to tackle these problems or who have thoughts on what I can do better. Thank you to everybody who has been kind to me, especially This kind of week.

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