In a shock to Facebook, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum have decided to move on between reports that he had a difference of viewpoints with parent business company Facebook over data privacy, encryption, and other relevant issues.
Koum declared his exit from WhatsApp quickly after The Washington Post on Monday reported his plans to diverge “after disagreeing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s efforts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption.”
“I’m moving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have thought. The team is stronger than ever, and it’ll continue to do marvelous things,” Koum said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“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. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible,” he added.
According to the report, Koum who sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than $19 billion in 2014, “also plans to step down from Facebook’s board of directors.”
“The independence and security of its users’ data is a core principle of WhatsApp that Koum and his co-founder, Brian Acton, promised to preserve when they sold their tiny startup to Facebook,” the report added.
Koum further said:
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg quickly replied via a comment: “I will miss working so closely with you. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and for everything you’ve taught me, including about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands”.
According to Tech Crunch, One possible candidate for the new WhatsApp CEO role would be its top business executive Neeraj Arora.
Arora has been with WhatsApp since 2011 — well before the Facebook acquisition.
With 1.5 billion monthly users, WhatsApp is the most prominent mobile messaging service in the world. Over 3 million people are actively using WhatsApp Business app.