Thursday, 19 July, 2018

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum leaves Facebook amid data privacy debate

WhatsApp CREDIT Courtesy of WhatsApp
Eleanor Moreno | 01 May, 2018, 09:29

He said he was leaving to pursue interests such as working on his auto, playing ultimate frisbee and collecting Porsches.

Despite the apparent hard feelings reported by the Post, Koum wrote, "I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on - just from the outside".

While the departure appears to be genial, The Washington Post reports that Koum has struggled to maintain the independent domain of WhatsApp under Facebook ownership since 2014, which includes the way it treats the data its users submit.

Updated: Koum confirms the move in a Facebook post. The announcement comes one day ahead of the F8 developers conference and follows a string of privacy-related controversies growing at parent company Facebook.

Since purchasing WhatsApp, Facebook has introduced tools for businesses to use the service, and convinced WhatsApp to allow Facebook to access some user information.

Facebook declined immediate requests for comment.


WhatsApp is free to users and has long eschewed advertising-the main source of Facebook's business-leaving it with little or no revenue. Facebook bought WhatsApp back in February 2014 for $19.3 billion. The harvested data was later used by Cambridge Analytica used data to target voters in the USA general election in 2016 raises tough questions for both companies.

Some big news out of WhatsApp, as co-founder Jan Koum has announced (on Facebook of course) he is leaving the company, confirming earlier news reports of his departure.

Acton departed WhatsApp in November 2017, and in March tweeted his support for the #DeleteFacebook movement that gained momentum in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"It's been nearly a decade since Brian [Acton] and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an unbelievable journey with some of the best people".

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a direct response to Koum's Facebook post, pushing back against the suggestion that encryption will be weakened on WhatsApp. So when Zuckerberg made the pair a multi-billion-dollar offer they couldn't refuse, Koum and Acton insisted on assurances that the core values behind WhatsApp would stay in place.

To attract more advertisers to WhatsApp, there were also discussions about weakening the platform's end-to-end encryption, which essentially prevents anyone, including Facebook or WhatsApp, from reading the contents of messages sent over the service. He's already sold $8 billion worth of Facebook stock since 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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