In a jolt to Facebook, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has decided to move on amid reports that he had a difference of opinion with parent company Facebook over data privacy, encryption and other issues. Koum announced his exit from WhatsApp immediately after The Washington Post on Monday reported his plans to depart “after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption”.
I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. According to the report, Koum who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014, “also plans to step down from Facebook’s board of directors.
The independence and protection of its users’ data is a core tenet of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny start-up to Facebook. After the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has warned investors that more users’ data scandals in the future may adversely affect the social networking giant’s reputation and brand image.
In its quarterly report shared with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), without mentioning Cambridge Analytica, Facebook said that its ongoing investments in safety, security and content review will identify additional instances of misuse of user data.