Facebook security chief likely to leave amid alleged data breach: Report

Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 05:02 Hrs
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With Facebook dealing with an alleged data breach crisis, the Chief Information Security Officer of the social network, Alex Stamos, is planning to leave the company by August, according to a report in The New York Times.

Facebook is facing a backlash as a data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump's election team allegedly harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters to influence their choices at the ballot box.

The social network announced in mid-March its decision to suspend Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies and commitments, but refused to call the incident a "data breach".

The impending exit of Stamos reflects heightened leadership tension at the top of the social network, The Times report said. 

Citing versions of some current and former employees of the social network, the report said that much of the internal disagreement is rooted in how much Facebook should publicly share about how nation states abused Facebook's services. 

Stamos reportedly met with resistance by colleagues when he had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues.

In December 2017, Stamos's responsibilities were reassigned to others, following which he expressed desire to leave the company. But he was convinced to stay until August to help see through the transition of his responsibilities, according to the report. 

His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees were quoted as saying. 

Responding to the report on Monday, Stamos in a tweet said that he is still fully engaged with his work at Facebook, while avoiding divulging details about whether he intended to leave Facebook or not.

"Despite the rumours, I'm still fully engaged with my work at Facebook," he tweeted. 

"It's true that my role did change. I'm currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security." 

Following the reported data leakage of its 50 million users for alleged political purposes, Facebook suffered the biggest one-day drop of its stocks by seven per cent on Wall Street on Monday in four years, Xinhua new agency reported. 

Cambridge Analytica received user data from a Facebook app years ago that purported to be a psychological research tool, though the firm was not authorised to have that information.

Facebook admitted that an estimated 270,000 people had downloaded the app and shared their personal details with it.

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Source: IANS
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