Published: Tue, May 01, 2018
Research | By Clarence Powell

WhatsApp's Other Co-Founder Announces Plans To Leave The Company

WhatsApp's Other Co-Founder Announces Plans To Leave The Company

WhatsApp's management has always opposed advertising, saying they did not want to be "just another ad clearing house" where the engineering team "spends their day tuning data mining".

USA media reports indicated that a disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data may have also been a factor in Koum's decision to quit his position as a high-ranking executive and likely leave his seat on the board at the leading online social network.

Stanford University alumnus Mr Acton and Ukrainian immigrant Mr Koum founded WhatsApp together in 2009.

Koum's departure follows other reports of high-level internal disagreement at Facebook.

At the time, Mr Koum wrote that the deal would not have happened if WhatsApp "had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product".

While Koum made no mention of tensions within Facebook, sources tell The Washington Post a power struggle was partially responsible for his departure.

In a comment on Koum's farewell post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chimed in to thank Koum for his service - and, seemingly, to reassert the company's commitment to encryption on WhatApp.

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In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's privacy practices have come under the microscope, with momentum gathering behind the #DeleteFacebook movement.

In 2014, Facebook bought Jan Koum's messaging app and turned him into a billionaire overnight.

Acton also recently invested $50 million in WhatsApp rival Signal, which was not lost on analysts. One political marketing company, Cambridge Analytica, that was part of Donald Trump's campaign, was given access to the data of 87 million users.

Koum and Acton started WhatsApp in 2009, charging US$0.99 annually for private communications and gathered nearly 500 million users by 2014, according to the Washington Post.

WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum is leaving Facebook, he said in a post to his personal account on Monday.

However, Facebook has been under pressure to make money out of the free, encrypted messaging service, which now has 1.5 billion monthly users, and has been taking steps that have chipped away at some of WhatsApp's values. Koum and Acton and other Facebook executives, the person said.

WhatsApp, a pun on the phrase "What's up?", only stores messages on users' smartphones and not on the company's servers, making the service more private and hard to hack.

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