WhatsApp CEO Leaving Facebook Amid Reported Disputes

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 co-founder Jan Koum announced on Monday that he's leaving the company. Facebook acquired his popular messaging app for $16 billion in 2014. In a post on Facebook, he said he was "taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology".

"It's been nearly a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an incredible journey with some of the best people", Koum wrote on a Facebook post. "The team is stronger than ever and it'll continue to do unbelievable things", he wrote in a Facebook post.

Koum's departure comes just a day before Facebook's annual f8 developer conference, where the company is looking to move beyond the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the associated privacy backlash, but this announcement might just make those efforts a bit harder - especially since it brings back memories of Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton and his departure from the company. But according to the Washington Post, Koum has been clashing with Facebook over data privacy issues, including whether to weaken WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, which it rolled out in 2016.

Today, WhatsApp is the world's most-used messaging app today with over one billion monthly users, that's more than double the 450 million it had at the date of the acquisition.

Acton departed WhatsApp in November 2017, and in March tweeted his support for the #DeleteFacebook movement that gained momentum in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also responded to Koum's post, saying he would miss working closely with him. "Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible".

Facebook bought the company in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock.

Mr. Koum, who was chief executive of WhatsApp, gave no reason for leaving in a Facebook post on Monday about his departure.

"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". In September 2007 Koum and his friend, Acton, left Yahoo and took a year off, traveling around South America and playing ultimate frisbee.

Facebook also recently announced it would allow all its users to shut off third-party access to their apps and said it would set up "firewalls" to ensure users' data was not unwittingly transmitted by others in their social network. Following the acquisition, Facebook got WhatsApp to ditch its $1-a-year subscription fee, but with the app's founders keen to keep ads of the platform, Facebook needed to find other ways to generate revenue.

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