WhatsApp founder quits after clash with Facebook over privacy rules

Jan Koum co-founder and CEO of Whats App speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach California

Jan Koum co-founder and CEO of Whats App speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach California

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum announced that he is leaving the Facebook-owned company.

"Jan: I will miss working so closely with you", commented Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Koum's post.

The Post, citing people familiar with internal WhatsApp discussions, said Koum was worn down by the differences in approach to privacy and security between WhatsApp and Facebook. "The team is stronger than ever and it'll continue to do incredible things", he wrote in a Facebook post.

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It's worth noting that WhatsApp's management has always fiercely opposed advertising, saying in 2012 that they did not want to be "just another ad clearinghouse" where the engineering team "spends their day tuning data mining".

In a jolt to Facebook, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has chose to move on amid reports that he had a difference of opinion with parent company Facebook over data privacy, encryption and other issues. Facebook has been under pressure to make money out of the free, encrypted messaging service and this was the major reason for the conflict.

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". Before launching WhatsApp, Koum was hired by Yahoo in 1997 as an infrastructure engineer.

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But unlike WhatsApp, which will only apply the new law to its European users, Facebook plans on rolling out changes for its users worldwide. Brian Acton, the other WhatsApp cofounder, left Facebook a year ago to launch a non-profit.

"It's not surprising given that Acton joined Signal after leaving Facebook", Jeff Pollard, an analyst at Forrester Research, said at the time. The harvested data was later used by Cambridge Analytica used data to target voters in the USA general election in 2016 raises tough questions for both companies. In September 2007 Koum and his friend, Acton, left Yahoo and took a year off, traveling around South America and playing ultimate frisbee. The app now has more than one billion monthly users. After a dinner at Zuckerberg's house, Zuckerberg made an offer for WhatsApp that turned Acton and Koum into instant billionaires.

Since then WhatsApp has started building and testing free tools to help businesses use WhatsApp to reach their customers, with the view to later start charging businesses.

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