One of WhatsApp’s founders, Jan Koum, will part ways with Facebook following the monster data scandal plaguing the company.
When the Ukrainian-born Koum first launched WhatsApp, he promised to respect user privacy. Koum was a first-hand witness of mass surveillance in the Soviet Union where he grew up.
Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible,
the executive said after selling WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion.
At the time, he said that the partnership with Facebook would not change the company’s values.
On Monday, Koum announced that it was time for him to “move on”. He didn’t say why he quit Facebook’s board of directors. People familiar with the matter claim that the WhatsApp co-founder had become more and more concerned about how Facebook harvests user data.
Koum reportedly disliked how much data the social media platform stored on the users. He pushed for stronger protections for the data for years. He reportedly unveiled the plan to leave Facebook in late 2017.
Facebook’s Data Scandals Affecting Executives
His departure is one of the most important in recent months. The company has been severely criticized for allowing the Russian government to influence American voters before the 2016 presidential race. Facebook also landed in the hot seat for how it mishandled data on 87 million users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Top executives have become divided over privacy topics and how they should be handled. Earlier this year, the company’s chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, announced his plan to leave the firm.
Facebook refused to comment on Koum’s departure.
Its business model is based on getting more people hooked on the service and allowing advertisers to promote their products to those users. WhatsApp has no ads, but it beams back some user data to Facebook.
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