Alex Stamos, who recently stepped down from his role as Chief Security Officer at Facebook, published an op-ed inThe Washington Posttoday, saying that Facebook could have responded Russian interference on its platform earlier. But he also says that the issue is much larger than Facebook: Congress should update its laws regarding political advertisers, and social media users need to “adjust to a media environment in which several dozen gatekeepers no longer control what is newsworthy.”

Stamos opens with confirmation of one of the details in the recentNew York Timesreport about how the social media company slowly dealt with Russia-linked activity — that she yelled at him after he had told Facebook’s board of directors that his team was still working to uncover the extent of misinformation on the platform, and that she later apologized.

He goes on to say that Facebook and other tech companies did make a number of mistakes in 2016, that they “were so enamored with the utility of our own products” that they had a difficult time seeing how their tools could be misused. He specifically calls out Facebook, saying that the company spent too long trying to minimize the issue, and that it “should have responded to these threats much earlier and handled disclosure in a more transparent manner.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company will do more to change how it delivers content to users, trying to deemphasize sensational content and misinformation, in the hopes that that will discourage people from posting it in the first place. Stamos is doing his own part. Yesterday, he announced that he was launching the Stanford Internet Observatory — a center to help Silicon Valley and Washington DC address these very issues.


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