WhatsApp Cofounder Koum To Exit Facebook

WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum is leaving Facebook, he announced on Monday.

Koum joined Facebook when it bought WhatsApp for about $19 billion in 2014. Koum co-founded the messaging app along with Brian Acton back in 2009.

“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,” Koum said in a light-hearted blog post.

While Koum made no mention of tensions within Facebook, sources tell The Washington Post a power struggle was partially responsible for his departure. Neither Koum nor Facebook could be reached by press time.

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Tensions between Facebook and WhatsApp’s founders were on full display last month, when Acton encouraged the world to delete their Facebook accounts. “It is time,” Acton tweeted. “#deletefacebook”

The call to action came just days after the Cambridge Analytica controversy first came to light.

Acton only left WhatsApp earlier this year, which left Koum to run the app.

Acton also recently invested $50 million in WhatsApp rival Signal, which was not lost on analysts. 

“It’s not surprising given that Acton joined Signal after leaving Facebook,” Jeff Pollard, an analyst at Forrester Research, said at the time.

Despite a month of negative headlines, Facebook still posted strong first-quarter earnings, last week. During the period, the tech titan took in nearly $12 billion in revenue, which was about 50% more than the same period a year ago.

 

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