WhatsApp cofounder leaves following Cambridge Analytica scandal

WhatsApp cofounder leaves following Cambridge Analytica scandal

Jan Koum, Facebook Inc. director and co-founder of its WhatsApp unit, is leaving the messaging service after what people familiar with the matter described as disagreement over putting advertising on its app and frustration over the confines of working in a big company.

In a statement on his Facebook profile, Koum says that he will be "taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology". At the time of the acquisition, Koum and Acton said Facebook had assured them that WhatsApp could remain an independent service and would not share its data with Facebook.

Jan Koum, one of WhatsApp's cofounders, is leaving the company.

Since purchasing WhatsApp, Facebook has introduced tools for businesses to use the service, and convinced WhatsApp to allow Facebook to access some user information. Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment on Koum's departure. "Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible", he added.

"Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp", he promised.

The news was first reported by the Washington Post on Monday afternoon, before Koum himself confirmed it shortly after.

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"I will miss working so closely with you", Zuckerberg wrote. The harvested data was later used by Cambridge Analytica used data to target voters in the United States general election in 2016 raises tough questions for both companies.

In 2014, Facebook acquired the text messaging, group messaging, voice, and video calling app from Koum and co-founder Brian Acton for $19 billion.

Action left the company last fall and since then has become a vocal critic of Facebook, recently endorsing a #DeleteFacebook social media campaign. Facebook's poor privacy protections were exposed last month during the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which centered on a quiz app that sucked up user data, and their friends' data.

In a post on Facebook, Koum did not give any reason for leaving WhatsApp which is by far the most widely used messaging platform globally, with 1.5 billion users.

Though the Cambridge Analytica revelations contributed to a climate of broader frustration with Facebook among WhatsApp employees, Koum made his decision to leave prior to the scandal, the people said. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg commented on the post, "grateful for everything you've done to help connect the world" and for teaching aspects of encryption.

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