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WhatsApp Co-Founder CEO Jan Koum Quits Over 'Data Privacy' Concerns

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 1 , 2018 , 11:59 IST

Jan Koum, the co-founder and CEO of the famous messaging app WhatsApp has announced his exit from his role, reportedly due to difference of opinion with parent company Facebook over data privacy, encryption and other issues.

"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," Koum said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

"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," he added.

The statement from Koum came a day after the Washington Post reported that the WhatsApp head was planning to depart "after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service's strategy and Facebook's attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption".

According to the Washington Post report, "also plans to step down from Facebook's board of directors".

The report added, "The independence and protection of its users' data is a core tenet of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny start-up to Facebook."

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In Koum's Facebook post he specified that it was time to move on.

"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," said Koum.

"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," he said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum's 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".

Koum, who had founded WhatsApp with Brian Acton in 2009, had sold the messaging app to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014. With 1.5 billion monthly users, WhatsApp is the biggest mobile messaging service in the world.