WhatsApp co-founder donates $50M to new Signal nonprofit wing

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Brian Acton, a co-founder of the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp, is donating $50 million to a new nonprofit supporting the encrypted messaging app Signal.

Acton will also serve as the executive chairman of the newly formed Signal Foundation.

“After over 20 years of working for some of the largest technology companies in the world, I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to build an organization at the intersection of technology and the nonprofit world,” Acton wrote in a blog post announcing the move.

{mosads}Signal is an encrypted chat service popular among privacy advocates and journalists, and its encryption model has been adopted by a number of tech giants. The company’s founder, a researcher and former Twitter executive known as Moxie Marlinspike, said in the announcement that the move will allow the company to expand while maintaining its independence.

“Starting with an initial $50,000,000 in funding, we can now increase the size of our team, our capacity, and our ambitions,” wrote Marlinspike. “This means reduced uncertainty on the path to sustainability, and the strengthening of our long-term goals and values.”

He also hailed the arrival of Acton, who he called an “incredibly talented engineer and visionary.” Acton left Facebook last year to start his own nonprofit, three years after the social media platform bought WhatsApp for $19 billion.


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