Mobile messaging service WhatsApp will not begin collecting more information from its users despite Facebook's recent $19 billion purchase of the company, CEO Jan Koum said Monday.
"Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point," he said in a company blog post.
The company — which charges a small annual fee — "built a user base based on its commitment not to collect user data for advertising revenue," and its deal with Facebook would "violate WhatsApp users’ understanding of their exposure to online advertising," the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy told the Federal Trade Commission, urging it to examine the deal.
Koum said in his Monday blog post that those fears are overblown.
"Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible," he said.
WhatsApp doesn't currently collect information about its users' names, email addresses, home addresses, birthdays, locations, employment or interests, he said. "None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that."
Koum assured users the company's data collection and sharing practices will not change.
"Speculation to the contrary isn’t just baseless and unfounded, it’s irresponsible," he wrote.
"It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we’re suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That’s just not true, and it’s important to us that you know that."