The co-founder of WhatsApp - the messaging app that Facebook bought for $19 billion in 2014, its largest-ever acquisition - is leaving the company, CNBC reports. It also reported Koum is leaving Facebook's board, a role he's held since the acquisition. WhatsApp has had no advertising on its service, but in recent years it has been sharing more information about its users with Facebook, its parent company.
A spokeswoman for WhatsApp declined to comment but pointed to Koum and Zuckerberg's posts on Facebook.
"Jan: I will miss working so closely with you", commented Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Koum's post. "It is time for me to move on", he writes. In a post on Facebook, he said he was "taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology".
He said he would still be cheering WhatsApp on from the outside.
According to the Washington Post, Koum's departed is "over the popular messaging service's strategy and Facebook's attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption, according to people familiar with internal discussions". Their philosophy of collecting as little data as possible from their users appears to clash with Facebook's policy of snooping on users to the extent possible.
"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 centralised systems and put it back in people's hands". Messages once delivered, were removed from the company's servers.
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The company rapidly gained global popularity, with some 450 million users by the time the founders agreed to sell to Facebook in February 2014, following five days of talks that ended on Valentine's Day. WhatsApp made all of its messages end-to-end encrypted in 2016 - a feature Facebook Messenger has as well, although users have to opt-in to it.
The prospect of introducing advertising amplified tensions between Messrs.
"In a February blog post on the Signal Foundation site, Acton wrote: "(Signal founder) Moxie (Marlinspike) and I share a belief that the best way to continue to ensure the universal availability of high-security and low-priced communications services like Signal is to do so through a foundation structure that is free of the inherent limitations of a for-profit company.
Koum and Acton applied to work at Facebook, but failed.
-Kirsten Grind contributed to this article.