WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum quits, Neeraj Arora may take charge

Jan Koum

Amidst controversy over WhatsApp strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption, Jan Koum–CEO and co-founder of world’s most used messaging platform has quit the company.

In 2009, the Ukranian-American along with Brian Acton co-founded WhatsApp and five years later they sold it to Facebook for a massive $19 billion. Acton, who already left WhatsApp has turned into a major critic of Facebook in recent times. With the exit of Koum, Facebook now comes under the scanner again.

On his social media post, Koum announced his exit from the company, however, there is no any particular reason claimed by him. According to sources, he was not happy with Facebook’s privacy and encryption policy and the disagreement led to quit the company.

Koum has been batting for users’ privacy and standing against advertising on WhatsApp. At the time of buyout by Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant, WhatsApp also promised users that these values wouldn’t be compromised.

In 3.5 years WhatsApp has grown like anything and now it has over 1.5 billion monthly users. Facebook has been under pressure to make money out of the free, encrypted messaging service and this was the major reason for the conflict.

In 2016, WhatsApp was fined by Europian Union for sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook. To monetise, it has started building and testing free tools that help businesses to reach their customers on WhatsApp.

Koum exit also comes at a time when Facebook is dealing with Cambridge Analytica scandal. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has also been questioned over changing the privacy policy. During the last update, it clarifies that it shares limited data with the parent company.

According to a TechCrunch report, WhatsApp business executive Neeraj Arora, a former Google corporate development manager who’s been with WhatsApp since 2011 can replace Koum and may be sworn in as new CEO.

Arora who was also a member of Paytm’s board of directors since June 2015 had resigned from One97 Communications-owned company’s board in February.

The development was first reported by Washington Post.

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