WhatsApp co-founder stepping down due to disputes with Facebook
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WhatsApp co-founder stepping down due to disputes with Facebook

Jewish billionaire Jan Koum reportedly disagreed with parent firm over privacy scandal; Zuckerberg says he will 'miss' him

In this February 24, 2014, photo, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum speaks during a conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
In this February 24, 2014, photo, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum speaks during a conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum will leave the company over conflicts with Facebook, which bought the messaging service four years ago.

Koum, a US Jewish billionaire originally from Ukraine, reportedly also will leave Facebook’s board of directors, according to The Washington Post, which cited people familiar with internal discussions. His date of departure has not been set.

Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 million in 2014.

It is believed that Koum is leaving due to disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, though Facebook has not confirmed this.

Koum, 42, who is worth more than $9 billion, moved to California with his grandmother and mother at the age of 16.

In a Facebook post Monday, Koum said, “It is time for me to move on.”

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a US House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 11, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

He also wrote: “I’m taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars, and playing ultimate frisbee. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, responded in a comment: “I will miss working so closely with you. 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. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp.”

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