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Facebook former exec recounts when Sheryl Sandberg yelled at him

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Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
Getty

  • Over the weekend, Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former security
    chief, wrote his own account of a run-in with Facebook COO Sheryl
    Sandberg, published by the Washington Post.
  • In it, he confirms a story of how, when and why she yelled at
    him after he told Facebook’s board that the Russians had used the
    social network to meddle in the 2016 election.
  • He also has some blistering criticism for how Facebook — and
    everyone else — handled Russian interference.

“Yup, Sheryl Sandberg yelled at me,” Alex Stamos
wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post
on Saturday.

Stamos is Facebook’s former security chief at the center of

a blistering New York Times exposé published last
week
 on how Facebook’s leadership dealt with Russian
election interference on its platform.

The story reported that senior leadership tried to downplay and
deflect the mounting crises, and revealed details that Facebook
hired an opposition research firm to attack its critics, with
some of those attacks having anti-Semitic overtones.

Sandberg and Zuckerberg have been playing defense ever since.
In a
Facebook post,
 Sandberg again admitted that she and CEO
Mark Zuckerberg were “too slow” in dealing with Russian election
propaganda on Facebook but she wrote, “to suggest that we
weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or we wanted to hide
what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations, is
simply untrue.”

So on Saturday, one of the men in the middle of it all, Stamos,
went public with his own side of the story.


Read more:



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He confirmed that he and his team began digging into Russian
activity on Facebook without the direct consent of Sandberg or
Zuckerberg.

He confirmed that during that initial investigation, Stamos grew
alarmed. “Combing through billions of accounts, my
colleagues and I had discovered a web of fake personae that we
could confidently tie to Russia,” he wrote in the
editorial. 


Alex Stamos
Alex Stamos, Facebook’s
former chief security officer.

Getty

When he reported his findings to Zuckerberg and Sandberg, they
asked him to brief the board. But that meeting with
the board was not consoling. He told “the difficult truth,”
he described, warning that Russian abuse of Facebook was
widespread and that they didn’t even know how bad it was.

Board members proceeded to grill Sandberg and Zuck and when the
meeting was over, a furious Sandberg accused Stamos of throwing
her and Zuck under the bus, the NYTimes reported.

Stamos basically confirmed that, too, by writing that
Sheryl — as reported in this past
week’s 
New
York Times investigation
 — felt blindsided.” He
said that after yelling at him, she later apologized.

But Stamos went on to accuse Facebook of not coming clean
about how bad Russian interference was on their social media
site, even after they sent a report to special counsel Robert
Mueller about it. Mueller is currently investigating Russian
election interference.

After the election “Facebook stuck to a
public-communications strategy of minimization and denial,”
Stamos wrote.

After holding Facebook’s feet to the fire, Stamos then went
on to wag his finger at everyone else: US intelligence,
lawmakers, major US outlets, too. All them played their parts and
rewarding the Russians for their hacking Democrats’s emails and
churning out propaganda.

Stamos also has a stark warning that the 2020 presidential
election is already looking like its going to get ugly. It’s
likely that the Russians are rubbing their hands together and
plotting.

If Facebook has really learned its lesson or not, he
doesn’t say. But he calls for everyone from our nation’s spies to
our lawmakers to the media to lawmakers to change their behavior
and be wary.



Come hear famed
Professor Scott Galloway discuss the Internet landscape at
Business Insider’s Ignition conference, December 3 & 4 in New
York. 


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