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Billionaire WhatsApp Founder Is Leaving Facebook

01 May, 2018, 06:41 | Author: Abraham Jackson
  • WhatsApp founder exiting Facebook over clash on strategy, data (updated)

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum is breaking ties with his company's parent, Facebook, amid a privacy scandal that has dogged the social network for weeks. Facebook acquired his popular messaging app for $16 billion in 2014. "I'm taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee". "I'm leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined, he wrote on his Facebook page. And I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on - just from the outside".

According to a report in the Washington Post, Koum left Facebook over disputes regarding the company's use of user data, but his official statement did not reveal his feelings about the issue. "Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible".

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.

Acton left WhatsApp late a year ago and joined in the growing backlash against Facebook, endorsing a campaign that encouraged users to delete their profiles from the social network.

Mr. Koum, who was chief executive of WhatsApp, gave no reason for leaving in a Facebook post on Monday about his departure.

This story has been corrected to note that Koum reportedly clashed with Facebook management, not specifically with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and back then, Koum wrote that the deal wouldn't have happened if WhatsApp "had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product".

"In a February blog post on the Signal Foundation site, Acton wrote: "(Signal founder) Moxie (Marlinspike) and I share a belief that the best way to continue to ensure the universal availability of high-security and low-priced communications services like Signal is to do so through a foundation structure that is free of the inherent limitations of a for-profit company.

Facebook has taken steps in recent months to generate revenue from WhatsApp, which unlike Facebook's flagship social network does not have advertising.

WhatsApp also runs no ads.

Facebook has faced intense criticism since March when news broke that the personal data of millions of Facebook users had been harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, a British voter profiling company that U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

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