Jan Koum will also step down from Facebook’s board of directors. Koum and his co-founder Brian Acton developed WhatsApp with a focus on user privacy and a disdain for advertising. However, Facebook wants make money from the service. In 2016, WhatsApp announced it would start sharing some user data, including phone numbers, with Facebook. A fine was applied by European regulators and the plan was abandoned.
Concerns about Facebook’s handling of personal information have grown since the social network’s admission in March the data of millions of users was wrongly harvested by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The billionaire chief executive Jan Koum did not give a date for his departure. He has been informing senior executives at Facebook and WhatsApp of his decision. His partner Acton left the messaging service company last year to start a foundation, after spending eight years with WhatsApp. He recently endorsed a #DeleteFacebook social media campaign that has gained force. WhatsApp is the largest messaging service in the world, most popular in countries such as India, Egypt, Brazil and in Europe. Koum and Acton, former coworkers at Yahoo, founded WhatsApp in 2009.