It was August 17, 2018, and Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos and I were driving together to his last day of work. After three years at the company, much of it spent dealing with Russian meddling on the platform — and, reportedly, debating with others inside the company over how transparent it was being with the public about the issue — he was conflicted, but ready to move on.
“The company has grown by leaps and bounds over the last three years. I think it has more than doubled in size. … It’s strange, we had a company where three years makes you one of the more tenured people,” Stamos said at one point, reflecting on his time at Facebook () from the driver’s seat.
“It’s also a company, I think, that’s coming to grips with its importance in the world, right? What started as a fun dorm room project… people have realized it has an incredibly central geopolitical role that we can’t ignore. So it is definitely, I think, a more serious company than the one I started at.”
I thought about that for a minute, then prompted him, “If you could say, ‘Facebook is…’ just fill in the blank.”
“‘Facebook is growing up’ is probably what I’d say,” Stamos replied. Then he continued with a sigh, “There’s something about being faced with your impact in the world in a real black and white way that I think changes the way people address their work, right? I mean, every individual is thinking differently about that now.”