WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum is leaving Facebook over privacy clash
WhatsApp CEO and co-founder Jan Koum is leaving the Facebook family. His departure comes six months after WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left the company and joined the DeleteFacebook movement following Facebook’s biggest privacy scandal.
In a Facebook post, Jan Koum wrote he was leaving at a time when people were using WhatsApp in more ways than he could have imagined. He also wrote it was time for him to move on. After the exit, he plans to spend his time collecting rare air-cooled Porsches and working on his cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.
As per the Washington Post, Koum will also leave the Facebook board of directors. An unnamed source told the Post, Koum was unhappy and had issues with Facebook’s approach to users privacy, data and encryption. Facebook’s poor privacy issues were exposed last month during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica scandal led to Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before the US Senate.
WhatsApp CEO and Co-founder Jan Koum quits: Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg reaction
In a reply to Jan Koum’s post on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, 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.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg too commented on the post, “Jan, the work you’ve done building WhatsApp has connected so many people around the world. I’m grateful to have worked with you and I wish you all the best in your next chapter.”
It was nearly 10 years ago Jan Koum and co-founder Brian Acton had created the popular messaging app WhatsApp. In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for nearly $19 billion, which was also the social media network’s most expensive acquisition ever. Facebook made billions of dollars by allowing access to its users data and through ads. This made acquisition of WhatsApp even more attractive. As even then WhatsApp had almost 500 million users worldwide.
WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton hated ads
WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton hated ads. Back in 2014, Koum spoke openly against the idea of ads.
“Dealing with ads is depressing … You don’t make anyone’s life better by making advertisements work better.”
He further expressed his unhappiness against ads by stating,
“There’s nothing more personal to you than communicating with friends and family, and interrupting that with advertising is not the right solution … And we don’t have to know a lot about our users. To target advertisements well, companies need to know where you are, what you might be doing, who you might be with, what you might like or not like. That’s an insane amount of data. Besides, I grew up in a world with no advertising. There was none in the Communist Soviet Union.”