social network

“It will be better if I leave the road”: the co-founder of WhatsApp first explained the departure from the company

Brian Acton was in a long disagreement with Facebook and after the withdrawal called to be removed from the social network.

Brian Acton. Photos of Recode

On September 26, one of the co-founders of the WhatsApp messenger, Brian Acton, gave the first interview after leaving the company in September 2017. In February 2018, he donated $ 50 million to the secure Signal messenger, and in March called onusers to delete the profile on Facebook within flashmob #deletefacebook .

In a conversation with Forbes, Brian Acton first talked about disagreements with the Facebook management, the reasons for which he left his post and the worries about the future of WhatsApp.

About leaving from Facebook

Acton explained that the decision to dismiss was taken when Facebook management began to doubt the message encryption system that it developed for WhatsApp. According to him, Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s operating director Cheryl Sandberg pressed on him in questions of monetization of the messenger. Acton added that the decision to leave cost him $ 850 million, which he was to receive in the shares.

It looked like they wanted to do things I did not intend to do. It will be better if I leave the road. I did it.

Brian Acton
One of the co-founders of the WhatsApp messenger

About the relationship with Facebook’s management

Facebook is not bad guys. I just think they are good businessmen. Within the framework of the proposed contract, they tried to conclude an agreement on non-disclosure. This was one of the reasons why I was afraid when I negotiated with these guys.

Brian Acton
One of the co-founders of the WhatsApp messenger

About Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg first contacted the creators of WhatsApp in 2012. As explained by Acton, they agreed to sell a messenger for $ 22 billion over the weekend in 2014 and did not spend much time discussing monetization. Also, the Facebook founder allegedly promised him a seat on the board of directors and no pressure on advertising in the next five years.

He [Zuckerberg] came with a large sum of money and made us such an offer, which you will not refuse.

Only I and Ian (the second founder of WhatsApp –  ) talked about the refusal to post advertising. Zuckerberg quickly reacted to the discussion of end-to-end encryption, which in theory should block the collection of user data.

Brian Acton
One of the co-founders of the WhatsApp messenger

About the attempts to agree with Facebook

According to Acton, in 2017 Zuckerberg became impatient and told at a meeting of WhatsApp employees that Facebook needs revenue from the messenger. The company needed about $ 10 billion over the next five years, earned from monetization.

Acton also offered an alternative: to invite companies to send customers paid “information content.” For example, SMS messages from a Honda dealer about promotions or discounts, but without tracking personal data, except phone number. He also offered a pay-per-use-model, when users pay only for the services they use. Both variants were rejected.

About advertising

According to Acton, between WhatsApp and Facebook there were disagreements due to issues of encryption of user data and advertising. He especially remembered that the company began to sell targeted ads to users of the messenger using their data. ” Targeted advertising is something that upsets me ,” explained the co-founder of the messenger, because earlier he adhered to the motto “No ads, no tricks and no games.”

About stress due to dismissal

As a result, I sold my company. I sold the privacy of my users to a greater extent. Made a choice and compromised. And I live with it every day.

Brian Acton
One of the co-founders of the WhatsApp messenger
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