WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum fell out with Facebook (the parent company) over efforts aimed at weakening WhatsApp’s encryption in order to use its data in monetizing over 1.5bn users.
Image: Jan Koum
Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp sold his firm to Facebook in 2014 for $19bn and has now found cogent reasons to quit the social networking company over privacy issues.
Media reports also confirm the billionaire founder is planning to step down from Facebook’s board of directors.
It appeared all bonhomie on Koum’s Facebook page, where he explained that he will be “taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology.”
Koum had been showing up less frequently at Facebook’s offices before this announcement, Silicon Republic wrote. It is understood that when Facebook bought the company in 2014, Acton and Koum promised users that there would be no ads interrupting their communication.
Nonetheless, the battle took new dimensions since the Cambridge Analytica affair emerged in March. The situation was worsened by #DeleteFacebook campaigns.
“It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people,” he started in the Facebook post.
“But it is time for me to move on. I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.
“I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined.”
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) commented on the post saying, “Grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world and and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands.
“Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp recorded a net loss of $232.5 million in the first half of 2014 but has been the highest profile acquisition for Facebook.
However, Whatsapp’s walk between privacy and profits has been an obstacle to strong revenue streams from its hundreds of millions of users.