Facebook’s ex-security chief is urging CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down, becoming the second former Facebook executive to scrutinize the company’s leader this month.
During the tech-centered Collision Conference in Toronto on Tuesday, Alex Stamos said criticism of Zuckerberg’s outsize influence is valid.
“There’s a legit argument that he has too much power,” Stamos said. “He needs to give up some of that power, and if I was him, I would go hire a new CEO for the company.”
Stamos, who joined the social media giant in 2015, left in 2018 to teach and work on research at Stanford University. Last August, shortly before starting his new position, he raised concerns over news that Facebook had discovered hundreds of Russian and Iranian-linked disinformation accounts ahead of the midterm elections, which the company went on to remove.
The company must find a new leader, Stamos argued during the conference, calling on Zuckerberg to “hire a CEO that can help signal both internally and externally that the culture has to change.”
Stamos even had someone in mind ― Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft.
The point, he explained, is to avoid having “the technologist who owns product be at the top.”
“I think it is important to have a manager up top,” Stamos added.
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Earlier this month, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who left in 2007, penned a New York Times op-ed arguing that it’s time for a crackdown on the company.
“We are a nation with a tradition of reining in monopolies, no matter how well intentioned the leaders of these companies may be,” Hughes wrote. “Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American. It is time to break up Facebook.”
Hughes pointed to a number of Facebook’s problems to make his case, including how the platform enables the spread of false information and violent rhetoric as well as the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach that allowed the political consulting firm to access more than 50 million users’ data before the 2016 presidential election.