Thursday, 24 May, 2018

WhatsApp founder, CEO Jan Koum steps down

Jan Koum co-founder and CEO of Whats App speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach California Jan Koum co-founder and CEO of Whats App speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach California
Oscar Goodwin | 01 May, 2018, 13:20

It doubled down on its pledge by adding encryption in 2016.

Facebook declined immediate requests for comment. Here's a look at the reactions to Koum's exit and what has been confirmed so far. He was a member of the board of directors at Facebook.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left in November.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, commented on Mr Koum's post, saying he was grateful for what he had taught him about encryption and its ability to take power from centralised systems and put it back in people's hands. The report by The Washington Post cites people familiar with internal discussions in the company which point to issues between the two parties over sensitive personal data usage.

In February, he invested $50 million in encrypted messaging service Signal through the newly founded nonprofit Signal Foundation and a month later, he publicly supported the #deletefacebook movement, by asking all his Twitter followers to delete Facebook. So when Zuckerberg made the pair a multi-billion-dollar offer they couldn't refuse, Koum and Acton insisted on assurances that the core values behind WhatsApp would stay in place. It caught the attention of Zuckerberg, who was looking to expand the social network overseas.

The Facebook acquisition turned Koum and Acton into billionaires.

But even in the early days, there were signs of a mismatch. Both men were open about their distaste of working with an advertising model for creating revenue. This act by the former exec of WhatsApp also generated a lot of heat from media.

"It is time for me to move on", Koum wrote in a Facebook post.

"You can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication".

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal cost Facebook an unknown number of subscribers. There's no confirmation on who will be the next CEO of WhatsApp.

A year ago the European Union also fined Facebook $122m for "providing incorrect or misleading information" about the plan at the time of the WhatsApp acquisition.

Instead, WhatsApp charged a $1 annual subscription.

Since then WhatsApp has started building and testing free tools to help businesses use WhatsApp to reach their customers, with the view to later start charging businesses. WhatsApp is also now piloting its UPI-based mobile payment service in India.

Another point of disagreement was over WhatsApp's encryption. WhatsApp uses encryption technology that makes messages indecipherable to everyone but the sender and recipient.

Facebook has plans of making huge profits from WhatsApp by offering such services to prospective business clients and organizations.

Ultimately, Koum was worn down by the differences in approach, the people said.

He'll also leave Facebook's board, according to the report.

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