WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum Leaves Facebook Amid Data Privacy Concerns
Facebook has been embroiled in a huge debate about the internet as a whole. As social media has grown to become such an integral part of our lives, it is no secret that users have given more personal information than needed to various social media platforms over the years. Facebook has been under the cosh for allegedly, not using that information in an ethical manner. Now, it appears that the conversation of privacy has trickled down to Facebook-owned properties, mainly WhatsApp. Co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp, Jan Koum has announced that he will be leaving WhatsApp soon.
Jan took to his Facebook page to announce his departure, making sure he doesn’t give away any reasons that made him quit the company he started. A report by Washington Post claimed that he had a clash with Facebook and the company’s plans of using users’ private data. It also claimed that Jan plans to step down from Facebook’s board of directors.
In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp from Jan for a reported US$ 19 billion. The app has since become the most famous instant messaging service. In July 2017, the company announced that it had reached 1 billion active daily users who were sending 55 billion messages per day, 4.5 billion photos and 1 billion videos.
WhatsApp has always pledged to protect user data and promised to protect that when Facebook bought the messaging service. In 2016, it further solidified its stance by introducing end-to-end encryption. However, Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company has been accused of letting third parties use sensitive user data to their advantage. His departure will certainly be a blow for Facebook, especially after Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp quit the company in November. Brian Acton, for that matter, has joined the rising voices of people concerned about data protection. The social media campaign, #DeleteFacebook has also gained impetus in the last few months.
Facebook is yet to respond to reports of Jan quitting due to differences with Facebook about handling user data. However, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook did reply to Jan’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 centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands.
It’ll be interesting to see the repercussions now since both the founders have quit the company. Facebook will be eager to continue building the legacy of its largest-ever acquisition in the wake of questionable times for the parent company.