Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, steps up immediately with parent company Facebook. The CEO of the messaging department would have a significant difference of opinion with the Facebook boss and owner Mark Zuckerberg about privacy and the course of the company.
Koum, who sold his company to Facebook for 19 billion dollars in 2014, announces his departure in a Facebook post. “It’s time for me to look further,” he writes.
He has no concrete plans for the future, and a reason for departure is not mentioned in his announcement. “I take a while to do things that I like outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee,” he writes.
His departure comes at a time when Facebook is under heavy fire over privacy. Koum is known as someone who cares about privacy. He ensured that WhatsApp became one of the safest chat apps in the world.
According to the Washington Post, who spoke with sources within the company who want to remain anonymous, Koum leaves Facebook because he disagrees with the course of Zuckerberg. Koum would not be pleased with Facebook’s attempts to weaken the security of WhatsApp traffic and gain access to users’ data, writes the paper based on the sources.
Zuckerberg seems to contradict this in a reaction under Koum’s Facebook message. “Jan: I will miss our close collaboration,” writes Zuckerberg. He says he is grateful for everything he has learned from Koum ‘including’ everything about encryption. “These values will always be from WhatsApp.”
The other founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton, recently called after the data scandal around Cambridge Analytica to remove Facebook. Acton already left WhatsApp at the end of 2017 and invested 50 million dollars in the competitive and secure Chat Signal app.