WhatsApp’s Jan Koum cuts ties with Facebook amid claims of clashes over data privacy and encryption
WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum is leaving the firm after reportedly clashing with its parent-company Facebook on matters relating to personal data and encryption, according to the Washington Post.
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The newspaper’s sources, who are “familiar with internal discussions” claim Koum will also step down from his position on Facebook’s board of directors. In a Facebook post, Koum confirmed he was leaving his position but did not elaborate on the reasons.
“It’s been almost a decade since Brian [Acton] and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on,” his post begins. “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. I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee.”
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Facebook did not respond to the Washington Post’s claims about the reasons for Koum’s departure, but did not dispute the accounts from its inside sources.
However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented on Jan Koum’s Facebook post, saying: “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 centralised systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”
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Co-founder Acton left WhatsApp in November and notably joined the #DeleteFacebook last month, urging people to quit the social network following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Since leaving the company, Acton has set up the Signal Foundation, injecting $50 million into the private messaging app. At the time, he wrote “Our plan is to pioneer a new model of technology nonprofit focused on privacy and data protection for everyone, everywhere.”