WhatsApp Co-founder CEO Quits – Facebook Policy to Blame

Jan Koum Pic Red

Amidst controversy over WhatsApp strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption, the CEO and co-founder of the world’s most used messaging platform has quit the company: Facebook.

Koum announced it through his Facebook post, that says:

It’s been almost a decade since Brian 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. I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.

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. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.

Mark Zuckerberg commented on Jan’s Post as follows:

Jan: 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.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook commented:

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.

In 2009, the Ukrainian-American along with Brian Acton co-founded WhatsApp and five years later they sold it to Facebook for a massive $19.3 billion. Acton, who already left WhatsApp has turned major critics of Facebook in recent times. With the exit of Koum, Facebook now comes under the scanner again.

On his social media post, Koum announced his exit from the company, however, there is no particular reason claimed by him. According to sources, he was not happy with Facebook’s privacy and encryption policy and the disagreement led to quit the company.

Koum has been batting for users’ privacy and standing against advertising on WhatsApp. At that time of buyout by Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant, WhatsApp also promised users that these values wouldn’t be compromised.

In 3.5 years WhatsApp has grown like anything and now it has over 1.5 billion monthly users. Facebook has been under pressure to make money out of the free, encrypted messaging service and this was the major reason for the conflict.

In 2016, WhatsApp was fined by European Union for sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook. To monetize, it has started building and testing free tools that help businesses to reach their customers on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp privacy had already become contentious following the Cambridge Analytica scandal: last month, another of the company’s founders, Brian Acton, added his voice to the #DeleteFacebook protest.