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Cofounder and CEO of WhatsApp Jan Koum is leaving his Facebook-owned company.
Cofounder and CEO of WhatsApp Jan Koum is leaving his Facebook-owned company.

Image: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images for Discovery

The man who Mark Zuckerberg says taught him about the power of encryption is leaving the Facebook family.

The departure of WhatsApp CEO and cofunder Jan Koum comes after Facebook’s biggest privacy scandal to date. And six months after WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton left the company and joined the #DeleteFacebook movement. Facebook bought the chat app, which highlights and promotes encryption and user privacy, in 2014 for more than $19 billion. 

In a Monday Facebook post, Koum wrote it was time for him to “move on.” He plans to spend time “collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee.” 

The Washington Post said Koum will also leave the Facebook board of directors. Koum had issues with Facebook’s approach to privacy, user data, and encryption, unnamed sources “familiar with internal discussions” told the Post. Facebook’s poor privacy protections were exposed last month during the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which centered on a quiz app that sucked up user data, and their friends’ data. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to Koum’s departure post thanking him “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.”

Despite the apparent hard feelings reported by the Post, Koum wrote, “I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on  — just from the outside.”

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