WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum has said that he is stepping down as CEO. Allegedly, this is due to clashes with parent Facebook over user data, encryption and how to monetize the messaging app.
“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 in a statement on Facebook, adding that he is “taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology”.
“I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside,” added Koum, who will also step down from Facebook’s board of directors.
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Even though Koum did not give further information regarding his reason for leaving, a report in The Washington Post said he was not content with Facebook’s plans to use the personal data of WhatsApp users and weaken its encryption standards.
The high profile Cambridge Analytica data privacy leak might have been the last straw, although the report said Koum had his made his decision before the scandal.
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum’s post, saying he was “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. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”
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