executives don't usually say much publicly, and when they do, it's usually measured and approved by the company's public relations team.
Today was a little different. Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos, took to Twitter to deliver an unusually raw tweetstorm defending the company's software algorithms against critics who believe Facebook needs more oversight.
Facebook uses algorithms to determine everything from what you see and don't see in News Feed, to finding and removing other content like hate speech and violent threats. The company has been criticized in the past for using these algorithms — and not humans — to monitor its service for things like abuse, violent threats, and misinformation.
The algorithms can be fooled or gamed, and part of the criticism is that Facebook and other tech companies don't always seem to appreciate that algorithms have biases, too.
Stamos says it's hard to understand from the outside.
"Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral. Nobody is not aware of the risks," Stamos tweeted. "My suggestion for journalists is to try to talk to people who have actually had to solve these problems and live with the consequences."
Stamos's thread is all the more interesting given his current role inside the company. As chief security officer, he's spearheading the company's investigation into how Kremlin-tied Facebook accounts may have used the service to spread misinformation during last year's U.S. presidential campaign.
The irony in Stamos's suggestion, of course, is that most Silicon Valley tech companies are notorious for controlling their own message. This means individual employees rarely speak to the press, and when they do, it's usually to deliver a bunch of prepared statements. Companies sometimes fire employees who speak to journalists without permission, and Facebook executives are particularly tight-lipped.
This makes Stamos's thread, and his candor, very intriguing. Here it is in its entirety.
—By Kurt Wagner, Recode.net.
This story originally ran Saturday, Oct. 7.
CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.
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