“There’s a legit argument that he has too much power,” Alex Stamos,in 2018, at the Collision Conference in Toronto. “He needs to give up some of that power. If I was him, I would go hire a new CEO for the company.”
Finding someone to run the company would allow Zuckerberg to turn his attention to building products, Stamos said in comments first reported by CNBC. Stamos even has a suggested replacement in mind: Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Product is “where his passion is,” Stamos said. “He should hire a CEO that can help signal both internally and externally that the culture has to change.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook have been grappling with a series of privacy and security issues over the last year, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, concerns about disinformation and struggles over moderating its platform. The social network has attracted the scorn of lawmakers, and expects a fine of up to $5 billion for its privacy violations.
Stamos is well acquainted with the subject, having played a central role in Facebook’s response to interference by Russian trolls in the 2016 US presidential election that took place on the social media giant.He also has a reputation for confronting other company leaders over challenging privacy issues.
Facebook has experienced rapid growth in recent years, fueled by acquisitions, including Instagram and WhatsApp, a messaging service. Critics have also argued that Facebook’s enormous power needs to be kept in check.
Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with Zuckerberg while they were students at Harvard, wrote in a New York Times op-ed earlier this month that Zuckerberg has too much power and called for the social network to be broken up.
Calls to break up Facebook aren’t new, but Stamos argued that wouldn’t solve issues such as disninformation campaigns or manipulating ad targeting for poslitical purposes.
“There’s a lot of excitement for antitrust because it feels good to be like ‘I hate this company, so let’s break it up,'” Stamos said. “Having three companies that have the same fundamental problems doesn’t make anything better.”
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.