WhatsApp Co-Founder To Quit In Loss Of Privacy Advocate At Facebook

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San Francisco: The co-founder of WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook Inc (FB.O) with more than 1 billion daily users, said on Monday he was leaving the company, in a loss of one of the strongest advocates for privacy inside Facebook.

“But it is time for me to move on.” He did not give a date for his departure and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Acton left the messaging service company in September to start a foundation, after spending eight years with WhatsApp.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg commented on Koum’s post, saying he was grateful for what Koum taught 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.”

Facebook has battled European regulators over a plan to use WhatsApp user data, including phone numbers, to develop products and target ads. The plan is suspended, but WhatsApp said last week it still wanted to move forward eventually.

Stanford alumnus Acton and Ukrainian immigrant Koum co-founded WhatsApp in 2009. Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock.

WhatsApp, a pun on the phrase “What’s up?,” grew in popularity in part because its encrypted messages are stored on users’ smartphones and not on company servers, making the service more private.

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