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WhatsApp CEO leaves after Facebook reportedly decides to weaken encryption

Jan Koum, the chief executive of WhatsApp, looks set to leave the company that he sold to Facebook for a huge $19 billion in 2014. The departure has been sparked due to a difference of opinion between him and Facebook over the latter's preference to weaken encryption in the app in order to pull user’s personal data and use it for advertising purposes.

Koum posted about his decision on Facebook, he said:

“It's been almost a decade since Brian [Acton] and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I've been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.”

Both Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg commented on the status message thanking Koum for all the work he has done on building WhatsApp, with Zuckerberg also leaving a sad face reaction on Koum’s post.

The other co-founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton, left Facebook last year to form the Signal Foundation with Moxie Marlinspike. Notably, Acton joined the #DeleteFacebook bandwagon after the Cambridge Analytica news broke. Those at Facebook said that Koum had decided to leave the firm prior to the Cambridge Analytica scandal so it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the impetus for him deciding to leave the company.

Let us know in the comments whether you’ll still be using WhatsApp if encryption is watered down or stripped out, or whether you’ll switch to something like Telegram which the Russian government recently blocked for not giving it access to user’s data.

Source: The Washington Post

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