WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum to Leave Facebook Over Disagreements on Data Sharing and Encryption

by

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum today announced plans to leave the company, which is owned by parent company Facebook. Koum has worked with Facebook and served on the company's board since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for over $19 billion in February of 2014.

WhatsApp is the largest messaging service in the world with more than 1.5 billion monthly users. It is highly popular in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and several countries in Europe.


In a Facebook post, Koum said that it's "time for [him] to move on" and that he'll be taking time off to pursue non-technology related interests.

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.

Koum did not detail his reasons for leaving Facebook, but The Washington Post says he is departing because he has clashed with Facebook executives over the messaging service's strategy and Facebook's attempts to use WhatsApp personal data, monetize the service, and weaken its encryption.

In addition to leaving WhatsApp, Koum is also said to be planning to step down from Facebook's board of directors.

Koum's disagreement with Facebook is said to have heightened following the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook allowed data from millions of Facebook users to be collected by a third-party app, with that data then used to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Koum did, however, plan to leave Facebook before the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, as there have reportedly been tensions between the two companies since Facebook first purchased WhatsApp.

Facebook originally promised not to share WhatsApp data with Facebook, but that changed less than two years after the acquisition, leading to ongoing disagreements over data sharing as Facebook has pushed for more and more crossover between the two companies.

According to The Washington Post, other WhatsApp employees are demoralized by the disagreements between Facebook and WhatsApp and are planning to leave in November when their stock options vest.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
31 months ago
"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."

Translation: I'm rich! Neener neener!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Facebook is so gross. Zuck and Sheryl Sanberg should be ashamed.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

Time to install Signal

I don't know why Signal isn't more popular. It's a great app and platform. Wish more of my friends used it. Whatsapp is great but I just know Facebook is going to turn it into trash.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Time to install Signal
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

I remember when FB bought them he promised everyone's data would remain secure and private.

Every acquisition makes promises they don’t intend to keep. It’s mainly a smokescreen to keep the regulators and the investors happy. Seen it with Apple, Google, and many others including some of the companies I’ve worked for that were acquired.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
I remember when FB bought them he promised everyone's data would remain secure and private.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 Will Be Released September 16

Tuesday September 15, 2020 11:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16. Apple has seeded the final Golden Master beta versions of each update to developers in advance. ‌iOS 14‌ and iPadOS 14 introduce dozens of new features, including a redesigned Home Screen that supports widgets on the iPhone and iPad for the first time. For more...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Full Transcript of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event With Apple Watch and iPad Updates

Tuesday September 15, 2020 8:46 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Time Flies" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut new Apple Watch and iPad models, but it appears we may not see the iPhone 12 until next month. While we're not expecting to see new iPhones today, Apple's software updates for its various platforms are likely nearly ready for launch, so we may be hearing more about them today. Check...

Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPad and Apple Watch Event in Just Seven Minutes

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Apple today held its annual September event, but this year was a bit different because no new iPhones were announced. The "Time Flies" event focused on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPad Air, and saw the debut of a new Apple One services bundle. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce the new devices, but we've recapped the event in...