WhatsApp founder, CEO Jan Koum steps down

01 May, 2018, 12:39 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • WhatsApp

The exact date of his departure is still unknown.

Facebook has taken steps to generate revenue from WhatsApp, which unlike Facebook does not have advertising.

"It's been nearly a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an awesome journey with some of the best people", Koum posted on his personal Facebook page on Monday.

Keeping WhatsApp independent of outside interference even from the company that bought it and preserving the privacy of its user data were central to Koum and Acton's vision for its messaging app.

Facebook declined immediate requests for comment. Zuckerberg wished Koum well on Facebook. However, both Jan Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton eventually gave in to this idea. He has joined a chorus of former executives critical of Facebook.

The tiff and Koum's departure come in the backdrop of Facebook's, massive data breach by the analytics company Cambridge Analytica. Koum has always been an advocate of privacy, writing in 2014 about his experience growing up in the USSR when he feared communications would be monitored by the KGB which drove him to create the privacy policy that Whatsapp has today. By 2014, the tiny company had nearly 500 million users.

The social network would not comment on that report. WhatsApp has never made any profits. WhatsApp became popular in just a short amount of time, and the rest is history.

It also runs no ads, while Facebook's enormous profits are powered nearly entirely by advertising targeted to its users' interests.

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WhatsApp also runs no ads.

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal cost Facebook an unknown number of subscribers.

In a Monday Facebook post, Koum wrote it was time for him to "move on".

"You can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication".

Eighteen months later, the promise not to share data evaporated. The announcement comes one day ahead of the F8 developers conference and follows a string of privacy-related controversies growing at parent company Facebook. While Koum reportedly made only $1 a year in salary at Facebook, his stock deal includes restricted stock units that vest quarterly over four years.

Conflicts soon arose over how WhatsApp would make money.

Another issue centered on advertising. If a government or company asked WhatsApp to turn over your messages, the company wouldn't be able to, since it cannot read them.

Another point of disagreement was over WhatsApp's encryption. This would apparently require weakening WhatsApp's existing end-to-end encryption-a feature that the company added to its weak-at-the-time encrypted-messaging services in 2016.

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