Jan Koum, one of the WhatsApp founders, reportedly plans to leave the company in the wake of increasing concerns about Facebook’s approach to users’ privacy.

Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, reportedly plans to leave the company in the wake of increasing concerns about Facebook’s privacy policy.

“It is time for me to move on . . . 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,” WhatsApp  co-founder, CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook post. 

Koum, who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014, plans to leave the Facebook’s board of directors too.

Koum did not provide further details on his decision or a timeline for his departures.

Jan Koum to leave Facebook

According to The Washington Post, this is one of the effects of the Cambridge Analytica case, clearly, Koum disagrees the way Facebook managed users’ data.

“The billionaire chief executive of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, is planning to leave the company after clashing with its parent, Facebook, 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.” reported the  The Washington Post.

“The independence and protection of its users’ data is a core tenet of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny start-up to Facebook. It doubled down on its pledge by adding encryption in 2016. The clash over data took on additional significance in the wake of revelations in March that Facebook had allowed third parties to mishandle its users’ personal information.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum’s decision by crediting him with teaching him “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.”

According to The Washington Post Koum disappointed also the Facebook executives approach to the end-to-end encryption introduced since 2016 and the possibility to weaken it to facilitate law enforcement agencies’ investigations and business use of the instant messaging app, the WhatsApp For Business program.

According to The Washington Post, other WhatsApp employees are not happy of the situation at the company and plan to leave in November, four years and a month after the Facebook acquisition, when they are allowed to exercise all their stock options under the terms of the Facebook deal.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Jan Koum, WhatsApp)

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