By Selina Wang
Twitter Inc. Chief Information Security Officer Michael Coates is leaving the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Coates oversaw the protection of data on the platform. His departure comes at a critical time for Twitter, which has been under intense scrutiny from lawmakers for failing to prevent foreign meddlers, bots and fake accounts from running rampant. Coates’ exit comes shortly after news reports that Facebook Inc.’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is planning to leave the company.
Coates, who joined Twitter in 2015, is leaving to start his own company, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the departure isn’t public. Coates announced his decision internally a few weeks ago.
Twitter declined to comment on the departure. The news was reported earlier by The Verge.
Lawmakers have been pressing social media companies including Twitter and Facebook to strengthen user privacy, improve data security and cull fake information from their websites in light of Russian influence during the 2016 presidential election. Those calls have been renewed in recent days after it was learned that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm that worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, siphoned data from some 50 million American Facebook users.