WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum to Leave Facebook Over Disagreements on Data Sharing and Encryption

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum today announced plans to leave the company, which is owned by parent company Facebook. Koum has worked with Facebook and served on the company’s board since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for over $19 billion in February of 2014.

WhatsApp is the largest messaging service in the world with more than 1.5 billion monthly users. It is highly popular in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and several countries in Europe.



In a Facebook post, Koum said that it’s “time for [him] to move on” and that he’ll be taking time off to pursue non-technology related interests.

It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.

I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it’ll continue to do amazing things. 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. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.

Koum did not detail his reasons for leaving Facebook, but The Washington Post says he is departing because he has clashed with Facebook executives over the messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use WhatsApp personal data, monetize the service, and weaken its encryption.

In addition to leaving WhatsApp, Koum is also said to be planning to step down from Facebook’s board of directors.

Koum’s disagreement with Facebook is said to have heightened following the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook allowed data from millions of Facebook users to be collected by a third-party app, with that data then used to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Koum did, however, plan to leave Facebook before the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, as there have reportedly been tensions between the two companies since Facebook first purchased WhatsApp.

Facebook originally promised not to share WhatsApp data with Facebook, but that changed less than two years after the acquisition, leading to ongoing disagreements over data sharing as Facebook has pushed for more and more crossover between the two companies.

According to The Washington Post, other WhatsApp employees are demoralized by the disagreements between Facebook and WhatsApp and are planning to leave in November when their stock options vest.

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Toronto Restaurant Ordered To Pay Black Patron $10K For Making Him Pre-Pay

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant was ordered to pay $10,000 to customer Emile Wickham after asking him and his friends to pay for their meals in advance. Ontario's human rights tribunal found that the restaurant racially profiled Wickham and his friends, all of whom are black.

TORONTO — Ontario’s human rights tribunal has ordered a downtown Toronto restaurant to pay $10,000 to a black man for violating his rights after the establishment asked him and three friends to pre-pay for their meal.

The tribunal heard Emile Wickham, who identifies himself as an Afro-Caribbean, went to the Chinese restaurant with three friends — all of whom were black — early on May 3, 2014, to celebrate his birthday.

Wickham told the tribunal that after the server took their orders, he and his friends were told that a restaurant policy meant they had to pay for their meals before receiving them, which they did.

He said he was unsettled by the request and asked other patrons if they had been asked to pre-pay as well. Wickham told the tribunal that none of the patrons he spoke to said they had been required to pay for their meals in advance.

In its ruling, the tribunal said the restaurant did not offer a credible non-discriminatory reason for its employees’ conduct and found Wickham had been racially profiled.

The Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant was ordered to pay Wickham $10,000 as compensation for infringing his rights and for the injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect.

He was presumed to be deviant.

“This case illustrates that the restaurant did not extend the applicant the benefit of the doubt, or assumption of his decency as a black person, rather he was presumed to be deviant,” the tribunal’s ruling stated.

“In essence, the applicant was presumed to be a potential thief in waiting despite any evidence to that effect.”

From Wickham’s evidence, the tribunal said it was evident that the incident had a profound impact on him.

“It has fundamentally changed the way that he perceives Toronto, and the level of the city’s inclusiveness,” the ruling stated, noting that Wickham feels less accepted in the city as a result.

“The incident was a rude awakening.”

Restaurant says decision is under appeal

The restaurant’s owner said the tribunal decision is under appeal, noting that the incident occurred four years ago when the restaurant was under different management.

“The current owner and staff are dedicated to be a committed, inclusive and responsible member of the community,” Colin Li said in a statement posted on Instagram.

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