Jan Koum, a co-founder of WhatsApp, has announced plans to leave the company and its parent Facebook. According to a report from the Washington Post, he clashed with Facebook over WhatsApp’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption.
Koum and co-founder Brain Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook for more than USD 19 billion in 2014. Acton left the company already last year and is working on developing the alternative messenger Signal.
Koum also plans to step down from Facebook’s board of directors, people familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. The date of his departure isn’t known.
In a Facebook post, Koum said it “is time for me to move on”. He plans to take time off “to do things I enjoy outside of technology”, adding “I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside”.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replied to Koum’s post by crediting Koum with teaching him “about encryption and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people’s hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”