WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has left Facebook, the company that bought WhatsApp for $19 billion citing privacy concerns as Facebook trials WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp payments and just weeks after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Through Facebook, Koum wrote, “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. 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.
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. 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.”
His departure confirms his and other user’s concerns on whether Facebook can be trusted with private information collected from users. Some media reports claim Koum left over disagreements to let WhatsApp break its user encryption for Facebook ads which are the social media giants main cash-cow. WhatsApp runs no ads till date and was not planning to run any. Koum’s resignation might be the start of the reign of ads in WhatsApp or sell of private user information.
Koum also plans to resign from Facebook’s board of directors according to media reports.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was quick to comment and wish Jan the best in his new endeavors downplaying any signs of disagreements.
“Jan: 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. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”