WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum leaves the company amid discussions with parent company Facebook about data privacy and the business model of the messaging application, according to a report by The Washington Post . Koum, along with co-founder Brian Acton, sold WhatsApp to Facebook in 2014 for an amazing sum of $ 19 billion, of which $ 3 billion consisted of Facebook shares awarded to both Koum and Acton, who left the company in September. . Koum confirmed his departure today in a personal post on Facebook.
Koum's Facebook post does not mention any internal confusion on WhatsApp, nor does it address any of The Washington Post reports suggesting that Koum disagreed with Facebook's approach to privacy and data encryption :  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's time to move on. I have been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a lot of focus can produce an application used by so many people around 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 will continue to do incredible things. I'm taking some time off to do things that I enjoy outside of technology, like collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing Ultimate Frisbee. And I will continue to encourage WhatsApp, just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible.
In response, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to Koum in a comment that said: "Jan, I'll miss working so closely with you, I'm grateful for everything you've done to help connect the world, and for everything that It has taught me, including encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and return it to the hands of people.These values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp. "
Both Koum and Acton are devoted privacy advocates. , and both pledged to preserve the sanctity of WhatsApp when they announced their sale to Facebook four years ago, which meant that the duo would never make product integration with a user's Facebook account mandatory and said they would never share data with the parent company. WhatsApp became completely encrypted end-to-end in April 2016, and the company has resisted calls from government agencies to build doors on its product, including for anti-terrorist and law enforcement measures.
However, Facebook pressured WhatsApp to change its terms of service last year to give access to the largest social network to the numbers of WhatsApp users. Facebook's leadership also boosted unified profiles across all of its products that could be used for data mining and advertising targeting, as well as a recommendation system that will suggest Facebook friends based on WhatsApp contacts.
The application's business model also created a dispute between Koum and Facebook, with the latter pushing for the removal of the $ 0.99 annual subscription fee to increase user growth and seek advertising and other methods, such as leaving that the companies chatear with the clients, like possible sources of income. The plan to take the companies to the platform was especially thorny, since Facebook supposedly wanted to weaken the encryption of WhatsApp to allow companies to read user messages, reports The Washington Post .
Koum's exit is four years and one month from the acquisition, which means that he has been able to fully exercise all of his stock purchase options within a standard corporate award schedule. But the reasons for his departure seem to be more idealistic than financial. Acton, who has invested $ 50 million of his own money in the Signal encrypted messaging application, tweeted in March, "It's time," along with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook, in response to the current Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. So it seems that both founders are fed up with Facebook.