Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former chief safety officer, who left the corporate this summer season to take up a task in academia, has made a contribution to what’s typically couched as a debate about how you can monetize (and thus maintain) business end-to-end encrypted messaging platforms so that the privateness advantages they in any other case supply may be as broadly unfold as doable.
Stamos made the feedback by way of Twitter, the place he stated he was not directly responding to the fallout from a Forbes interview with WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton — by which Acton hit at out at his former employer for being grasping in its method to producing income off of the famously anti-ads messaging platform.
Both WhatsApp founders’ exits from Facebook has been blamed on disagreements over monetization. (Jan Koum left some months after Acton.)
In the interview, Acton stated he advised Facebook administration apply a easy enterprise mannequin atop WhatsApp, equivalent to metered messaging for all customers after a set variety of free messages. But that administration pushed again — with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg telling him they wanted a monetization methodology that generates higher income “scale”.
And whereas Stamos has averted making vital remarks about Acton (in contrast to some present Facebook staffers), he clearly needs to lend his weight to the notion that some form of trade-off is important to ensure that end-to-end encryption to be commercially viable (and thus for the higher good (of messaging privateness) to prevail); and due to this fact his tacit help to Facebook and its method to being profitable off of a robustly encrypted platform.
Stamos’ personal departure from the fb mothership was hardly underneath such acrimonious phrases as Acton, although he has had his personal disagreements with the management crew — as set out in a memo he despatched earlier this yr that was obtained by BuzzFeed. So his help for Facebook combining e2e and advertisements maybe counts for one thing, although isn’t actually shocking given the seat he occupied on the firm for a number of years, and his at all times fierce defence of WhatsApp encryption.
(Another attribute concern that additionally surfaces in Stamos’ Twitter thread is the necessity to preserve the know-how authorized, within the face of presidency makes an attempt to backdoor encryption, which he says would require “accepting the inevitable downsides of giving people unfettered communications”.)