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WhatsApp Co-Founder Quits Amid Facebook Privacy Saga

WhatsApp cofounder leaves following Cambridge Analytica scandal

WhatsApp founder and Chief Executive Officer Jan Koum is leaving Facebook Inc., just a few years after his messaging app was acquired by the social-media giant for $22 billion.

However, according to a Washington Post report earlier on Monday, Mr Koum had clashed with parent company Facebook over Whatsapp's strategy. In March, The New York Times reported that Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief information security officer, meant to leave the company after an internal dispute over how to handle the threat of Russian influence efforts.

On Monday, Mr Koum wrote: "It's been nearly a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an awesome journey with some of the best people".

He said people were using WhatsApp in more ways than he could have imagined and the team was stronger than ever.

He added: "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".

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, replying to Mr. Koum's post, expressed gratitude for his work 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". The app has about 1.5 billion users worldwide.

In 2015, Malcolm Turnbull confirmed he used secure apps including WhatsApp for messaging, saying: "Probably the least secure form of messaging is SMS or text messaging".

Zuckerberg is already expected to reiterate some of the apologies he's been offering in the wake of revelations that Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm tied to President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, to obtain personal information from as many as 87 million of its users.

However, 18 months later, Facebook pushed WhatsApp to change its terms of service to give the social network access to the personal data of WhatsApp users.

Both men were also said to oppose Facebook efforts to commercialise Whatsapp, which has no advertising.

WhatsApp is free to users and has long eschewed advertising-the main source of Facebook's business-leaving it with little or no revenue.

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

"Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp", Zuckerberg wrote in a comment on Koum's Facebook post. And Acton and Koum may be followed by an even larger falloff, as the WaPo report suggests November as a mass-exodus point, when original WhatsApp staffers will be allowed to exercise stock options.