WhatsApp co-founder to exit Facebook

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WhatsApp founder exiting Facebook over clash on strategy, data (updated)

On Koum's post announcing his departure, Zuckerberg commented, "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".

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Whatsapp's other co-founder Brian Acton started the #deleteFacebook movement, hinting at what he thought of the social media company's privacy policy. In a post on Facebook, he said he was "taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology". The two men, both privacy advocates who started their encrypted messaging app almost a decade ago, joined Facebook after it acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion, making them both billionaires.

The head of popular messaging service WhatsApp is planning to leave the company because of a reported disagreement over how parent company Facebook is using customers' personal data.

Another person familiar with the matter said Mr. Koum won't leave immediately and is expected to walk away with his Facebook stock nearly fully vested. Koum resisted his parent company's attempts to pull more data from WhatsApp users for advertising purposes.

Facebook has taken steps in recent months to generate revenue from WhatsApp, which unlike Facebook's flagship social network does not have advertising.

Facebook bought the mobile messaging service in 2014 for $16 billion, and at the time Koum said the deal would change "nothing" for WhatsApp users. Mr. Koum is up for reelection as a Facebook director, according to Facebook's proxy filing earlier this month. And I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on - just from the outside. But Zuckerberg has reportedly pushed WhatsApp to "move faster" to grow its business base, despite scrutiny from the United Kingdom government about its privacy policy as well European Commission surrounding the company.

In 2015, Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he used secure apps including WhatsApp for messaging, saying: "Probably the least secure form of messaging is SMS or text messaging". The company once said it was built "around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible".

Despite the Post's reporting, Koum portrayed his departure in positive terms. Acton isn't involved with WhatsApp anymore, having left it in November to later join Signal Foundation.

-Kirsten Grind contributed to this article.

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