Mark Zuckerberg should step aside for a new CEO at Facebook, Alex Stamos, the company’s former chief security officer, said on Tuesday.
The move would curtail Zuckerberg’s power and allow him to focus on what he likes best — developing the company’s products, Stamos said at the Collision conference in Toronto. It would also be a sign that he’s serious about changing the culture at Facebook, he said.
“There is a legitimate argument that he has too much power,” Stamos said. “He needs to give up some of that power. And if I was him, I would go hire a new CEO for the company.”
According to Business Insider, Stamos has a candidate in mind for whom Zuckerberg should choose to replace him: Microsoft President Brad Smith. Smith helped the software giant make peace with government regulators when it was under similar scrutiny in the early 2000s over its business practices, as Facebook is now.
“My recommendation would be Brad Smith from Microsoft,” he said. “But some adult who has gone through this before at another company.”
Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to an email seeking a comment on Stamos’ remarks.
Breaking up Facebook won’t solve its problems, Stamos said
Facebook and Zuckerberg have been under scrutiny for much of the past three years, starting with the social-networking company’s role in the spread Russian misinformation and propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election. The company then became embroiled in a series of privacy and security mishaps last year, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In recent months, there’s been a growing call for regulations that would curtail the company’s power and restrict how it does business in addition to calls for antitrust enforcement that would break it up.
There are legitimate legal arguments for splitting up the company — and for splitting off YouTube from Google, Stamos said. Those arguments are based on the impact Facebook and Google’s power has on competition in their respective markets.
But breaking up the companies would not address the fundamental threats and dangers they pose to their users and society, such as their effect on users’ privacy and the spread of misinformation, he said.
“You can’t solve climate change by breaking up ExxonMobil and making 10 ExxonMobils, right?” he said. “You have to address the underlying issues.”
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