Jon Koum steps down as WhatsApp CEO amid Facebook privacy scandal

Steve Phelps
May 3, 2018

San Francisco: In a jolt to Facebook, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has made a decision to move on amid reports that he had a difference of opinion with parent company Facebook over data privacy, encryption and other issues. The team is stronger than ever and it'll continue to do wonderful things. Facebook wouldn't comment on that report. If Koum leaves the social messaging company prior to May 15, he may stand to lose 5.8 million shares.

Facebook's F8 conference isn't just about the social media giant's own site and app, as it also took some time out to touch upon subsidiary WhatsApp.

The date of his departure has yet to be confirmed, but Koum, who had a seat at Facebook's board of directors over the last few years, has been reported to have some disagreements over personal data collection, as his working area relies in one of the largest and most successful messaging apps now in the world. WhatsApp uses encryption technology that makes messages indecipherable to everyone but the sender and recipient.

"There is great deal of potential ad inventory at WhatsApp", Sandler wrote. We know that Facebook's entire business model hinges on targeted advertising around personal data. So were regulators in Europe, where WhatsApp is most popular. The company has been severely criticized for allowing the Russian government to influence American voters before the 2016 presidential race.

In a reply to Koum's Facebook post, Zuckerberg told him he would miss working together.

42-year-old, Koum said, "It is time for me to move on". Alongside this, Facebook revealed some key numbers of WhatsApp.

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Stanford alumnus Acton and Ukrainian immigrant Koum co-founded WhatsApp in 2009. This feature is now being tested and will roll out globally in the next few weeks.

Koum also the co-founder of WhatsApp in an ironic move took Facebook to declare his resignation to public.

While Facebook has confirmed that group video calls are coming to WhatsApp, it hasn't shared any exact timeline for the roll-out of this feature, except saying that users will get it in the "months ahead".

This story has been corrected to note that Koum reportedly clashed with Facebook management, not specifically with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

AP Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay contributed to this story from NY.

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