WhatsApp cofounder steps down at Facebook amid data privacy concerns

WhatsApp cofounder steps down at Facebook amid data privacy concerns
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WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said he is leaving the Facebook-owned company in a post on Monday.

“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,” Koum said in his statement.

Koum is departing from the company after clashing with Facebook over its attempts to weaken encryption and make use of user data, according to The Washington Post.

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The clashes and Koum’s departure come on the heels Facebook’s data privacy scandal over how Cambridge Analytica was able to improperly harvest the data of 87 million users.

“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,” Koum wrote.

Facebook acquired the messaging app known for its security and encryption in 2014 for $19 billion.

In some ways, WhatsApp’s and Facebook’s business models are diametrically opposed. Facebook relies on extracting tremendous amounts of data from its users, from which it then profits by targeting advertisements toward them.

WhatsApp attracted users with its promise of privacy and very tight security.

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — UN calls for probe into alleged Saudi hack of Bezos | Experts see effort to 'silence' Washington Post | Bezos tweets tribute to Khashoggi Trump says Zuckerberg presidential run 'wouldn't be too frightening' Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' MORE replied to Koum’s departure announcement post by praising the WhatsApp co-founder for teaching him “about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”

Brian Acton, another WhatsApp co-founder, had previously stepped down from the company in November and has joined other former Facebook executives like Sean Parker in criticizing the company from the outside.

Acton tweeted his support of the #DeleteFacebook social media campaign that came in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica controversy.