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Mark Zuckerberg should hire Microsoft's Brad Smith as CEO, says former Facebook security chief

Key Points
  • Alex Stamos, who left Facebook in 2018, spoke on stage at the Collision Conference in Toronto.
  • Stamos said Mark Zuckerberg should hire a new CEO for Facebook and turn his focus to building products.
  • He said there are legitimate arguments for breaking up Facebook, but said that will not solve the underlying issues that plague the company.
Alex Stamos
Brendan Moran | Getty Images

Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said on Tuesday that Mark Zuckerberg should hire a new CEO and turn his focus to building products.

"There's a legit argument that he has too much power," said Stamos, who left the company 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."

Stamos even offered a specific suggestion: Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Facebook and Zuckerberg have been embroiled in controversy since the lead up to the last presidential election, when the platform was inundated with fake news and became a haven for bullying and harassment. Stamos knows something about the issues plaguing the company — he was among the first people at Facebook to discover Russians were using the social network to interfere with the 2016 election.

Since the departure in March of Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, Zuckerberg has been effectively acting as Facebook's product head, Stamos said, adding that he should keep his attention there and hand over the lead role.

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."

Stamos also said that there are legitimate arguments for breaking up Facebook as well as separating YouTube from Google on the basis that both companies have reduced competition. However, breaking up Facebook doesn't solve the underlying issues that afflict social media, such as the spread of false information or manipulating the ad targeting system for political purposes, he said.

"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."

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Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off