WhatsApp Co-Founder Leaving Company Over Reported Privacy Clash with Facebook

WhatsApp Co-Founder Leaving Facebook After Dispute Over Ads

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, reportedly unhappy with parent company Facebook, has chose to leave. He said he's taking time off to pursue hobbies like collecting rare, air-cooled Porsches and playing ultimate frisbee.

It's worth noting that WhatsApp's management has always fiercely opposed advertising, saying in 2012 that they did not want to be "just another ad clearinghouse" where the engineering team "spends their day tuning data mining".

According to the Washington Post, Koum's departure is the result of clashes over issues like encryption, and he is also expected to step down from Facebook's board of directors.

"Jan: I will miss working so closely with you", commented Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Koum's post. And six months after WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton left the company and joined the #DeleteFacebook movement.

Koum's decision may be made easier thanks to the $10.4 billion fortune he's already accrued, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. "Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp".

When reached for comment, Facebook representatives pointed us to Koum's post.

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When WhatsApp agreed to the company's sale to Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, it said WhatsApp would remain an independent service and would not share its data with Facebook. Facebook is reckoning with the worst privacy crisis in its history, not to mention questions over how it handles user data and, broadly speaking, whether it is good for the world. WhatsApp made all of its messages end-to-end encrypted in 2016 - a feature Facebook Messenger has as well, although users have to opt-in to it.

WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, with the latter departing the company back in 2017 several years after Facebook had acquired the company.

Concerns about Facebook's handling of personal information have grown since the social network's admission in March that the data of millions of users was wrongly harvested by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Instead, he describes his time with WhatsApp as "an wonderful journey with some of the best people", adding that it was "time for me to move on".

In 3.5 years WhatsApp has grown like anything and now it has over 1.5 billion monthly users. Koum and Acton strongly rejected the weakening of its encryption to allow business tools to access certain data on sent messages.

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