As Facebook starts the F8 Development Conference in San Jose, the social media company is dealing with the sudden departure of a significant leader.
Jan Koum Exits
Jan Koum, one of the co-creators of the messaging app WhatsApp, announced on April 30 that he will exit Facebook. He posted a farewell message to his 90,000 Facebook followers, saying it was time for him to move on. In his message, he credited his WhatsApp co-founder, Brian Acton, and stated that he was grateful to the people that he met on his journey.
He also thanked his team and added that he left at a good time. Koum stated that he would be turning his attention to his hobbies such as ultimate frisbee and collecting rare air-conditioned Porsches. Koum added that he would still support WhatsApp. It is also expected that the WhatsApp co-founder would be stepping down from Facebook's board of directors.
Clashes With Facebook?
While it is unknown when Koum will leave the company, Facebook insiders believe that the WhatsApp co-founder decided to do so because he argued with several Facebook leaders on the social media company's direction. Some of the issues that made Koum unhappy with Facebook was the decision to change WhatsApp's terms of service and sharing the users' data with them. Both Koum and Acton, who left WhatsApp in late 2017, were firm believers in keeping their customers' privacy intact.
Another significant factor that might have led to Koum's departure might have been how WhatsApp made money for the social media company. The WhatsApp co-founder opposed Facebook's advertising models, while Facebook leaders were unhappy with the app's 99 cents per year charge.
Also, Koum and Acton had a disagreement with the social media company when they introduced end-to-end encryption in 2016. The end-to-end encryption is a security feature that scrambles users' messages so that no one could read them. However, Facebook leaders were unhappy with the encryption because it would not help its advertisers gain customers.
Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Out
Despite the alleged behind-the-scenes dustups, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was one of the well-wishers that commented on Koum's post. The 33-year-old businessman praised his colleague and shared a valuable lesson that Koum has taught him.
"I will miss working so closely with you. I'm grateful for everything you've done to help connect the world, and for everything that 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," said Zuckerberg in a statement to Newsweek.
While Facebook will be losing a crucial member of its leadership staff, the social media company has continued to make announcements regarding new features. Parents will now have more control of their kids' Facebook accounts through a feature called sleep mode for Facebook Messenger Kids. Once parents set up sleep mode, their children will be unable to receive or send messages and will lose camera privileges for a time.
Last month, Facebook announced that it would join Microsoft and 32 other companies to prevent cyber warfare. Through the Tech Accord, the 34 companies would oppose cyberattacks on innocent people and businesses. It would also not work with governments that declare cyberwarfare on their citizens.
The social media company also launched its Data Abuse Bounty program. This program encourages Facebook users to be more proactive in finding companies, such as Cambridge Analytica, that illegally harvest information on their users. Facebook will pay up to $40,000 to people who catch data thieves.
Tech Times reached out to both Facebook and What's App for a comment on this story.