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The longtime COO of Facebook, now Meta, Sheryl Sandberg said she will be stepping down from the company. She will leave in the fall but will remain on the company’s board of directors.
In other news, the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone, confirmed for the first time that the U.S. had conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine
This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Longtime Facebook COO leaving in fall
Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down after 14 years with the company, she announced Wednesday.
She will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors.
“When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life. I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is. But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women,” Sandberg wrote in a post on Facebook, which is owned by Meta.
She will leave the company “this fall,” she said.
Next up: Sandberg will be replaced as COO by Javier Olivan, the company’s chief growth officer, but his role will differ from the work Sandberg did for the company, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post.
“Looking forward, I don’t plan to replace Sheryl’s role in our existing structure. I’m not sure that would be possible since she’s a superstar who defined the COO role in her own unique way. But even if it were possible, I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products,” he said.
US launched offensive cyber operations
U.S. Cyber Command Director Gen. Paul Nakasone confirmed for the first time that the U.S. had conducted offensive cyber operations in support of Ukraine.
“We’ve conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, [and] information operations,” Nakasone said in an interview Wednesday with Sky News, a British television news channel.
Although the general did not provide specifics, he said the operations were lawful and conducted with civilian oversight of the military.
Nakasone previously said his agency deployed a “hunt forward” team in December to help Ukraine shore up its cyber defenses and networks against active threats. But his latest remarks appear to be the first time that a U.S. official said publicly that the U.S. has been involved in offensive cyber operations in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
AMAZON RAMPS UP ANTITRUST CRITICISM
Amazon is ramping up criticism of a key antitrust bill that aims to rein in the e-commerce giant’s power, in part by trying to distance itself from the other tech giants targeted by the proposed legislation.
Amazon’s vice president of public policy Brian Huseman published a blog post Wednesday slamming the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), in the company’s most extensive and direct criticism of the legislation.
Huseman said Amazon’s consumer business targeted by the legislation is more like retailers such as Walmart, Target and Costco than it is akin to that of Apple, Facebook or Google.
“Applying the same broad, vague, and undefined language to all of these different market segments to regulate what are in fact very different companies would cause serious and damaging unintended consequences for American consumers and small businesses the bills purport to protect,” Huseman wrote.
The response: “Who do you trust? The largest online retailer in America with a demonstrated record of stiffing small businesses and lying about this bill’s impact, or small businesses themselves?,” a Klobuchar spokesperson said in a statement.
“We’ll take the side of small business and consumers – not the side of big tech monopolists.”
FBI intercepted hack against hospital
FBI Director Christopher Wray said his agency thwarted a cyberattack last summer that aimed to disrupt the network of the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Wray said hackers sponsored by the Iranian government were behind the attack, calling it “one of the most despicable cyberattacks” he’s ever seen.
“We got a report from one of our intelligence partners indicating Boston Children’s was about to be targeted,” Wray said. “And, understanding the urgency of the situation, the cyber squad in our Boston field office raced to notify the hospital.”
He added that FBI agents were able to provide the hospital with the information it needed to identify and mitigate the threats.
AGENCIES SEIZE DOMAIN NAMES
Federal authorities have seized the internet domain names of numerous websites amid an investigation into the sale of stolen personal information online and cyberattacks for hire.
In a Department of Justice (DOJ) statement on Wednesday, authorities said that the websites — including weleakinfo.to, ipstress.in and ovh-booter.com — were seized in a coordinated effort with the National Police Corps of the Netherlands and the Federal Police of Belgium
According to court documents, authorities said that weleakinfo.to had obtained more than 10,000 data breaches containing 7 billion indexed records, which included names, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers and passwords for various online accounts.
AMBER ALERTS REACH INSTAGRAM
Instagram users will begin seeing AMBER alerts for missing children in their area, the company announced Wednesday.
The feature is rolling out first in the U.S. and 24 other countries, with plans to expand the feature to more countries going forward.
The alerts will include details about the child, such as a photo, description, location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided, Facebook’s director of trust and safety Emily Vacher said in a blog post.
BITS & PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: It’s Biden v. inflation — and Biden’s losing
Lighter click: gets the best of us
Notable links from around the web:
The Next Battleground for Gig Worker Labor Laws: Massachusetts (The New York Times / Kellen Browning)
Tech giants made a home in Ghana. Now they’re quiet on its anti-LGBTQ+ bill. (Protocol / Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu)
One more thing: Back to the office at Tesla
Electrek reported that Musk’s email states anyone who wishes to continue to work remotely must work in an office at least 40 hours weekly or “depart” Tesla.
The email has the subject line “Remote work is no longer acceptable” and is signed by Musk.
Musk did not immediately return a request for comment by The Hill through a Tesla spokesperson.
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