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WhatsApp founder admits he ‘sold users’ privacy’ to Facebook

WHATSAPP FOUNDER Brian Acton has spoken of his regrets over what has become of his creation since he sold out to Facebook.

A profile of Acton on Forbes suggests that Facebook’s desire to monetise the app, which had previously made money from a $1/y subscription. had not sat well with him and led to his departure last year, despite losing millions in personal payouts as a result.

“It was like, okay, well, [Facebook] want to do these things I don’t want to do,” he explains, “It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did.”

“I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit,” says Acton “I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”

The news comes in the same week that Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have stepped away from the company, also bought by Facebook, with hints of similar discontent swirling.

For Acton, the decision not to sign an NDA when leaving WhatsApp cost him dearly with an estimated $850m of his payout withheld.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to have told Acton that he planned to start using targeted advertising in the same way as the main site, and as someone who set up the messaging service with privacy at the forefront, he felt that he was incompatible with this new direction for his baby.

Targeted ads are set to debut next year and it will be interesting to see how the public take to it. Facebook has emphasised that the end-to-end encryption that makes WhatsApp what it is, will continue, albeit flanked by personalised “opportunities”.

Facebook has made no official statement on the matter but David Marcus, the company’s head of Blockchain fired back vigorously in a post on… where else but Facebook:

“I find attacking the people and company that made you a billionaire, and went to an unprecedented extent to shield and accommodate you for years, low-class,” he blasted. “It’s actually a whole new standard of low-class.”

Facebook is still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal which is still being scrutinised as possibly enabling “bad actors” to influence the US Elections of 2016 and the UK Brexit campaign. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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