WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum has hit back at claims that the messaging app’s acquisition by Facebook will result in an invasion of privacy for its users.
Last month, Facebook bought the mobile messaging service for $19bn, but soon after the deal was made public, concerns were voiced by some – including the German data privacy watchdog – that the acquisition would result in Facebook exploiting information from WhatsApp users’ private messages.
But Koum has written a blog to “set the record straight”, in which he insists that WhatsApp users have nothing to worry about.
“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible,” he said, insisting that WhatsApp doesn’t gather any sort of information about the user such as contact details, interests or location.
“None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”
Koum said that if the deal with Facebook had meant changing the values of WhatsApp then “we wouldn’t have done it,” and he insisted that despite the acquisition, the messenging service will stick to its own rules and won’t be controlled by Facebook.
“We are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change. Everything that has made WhatsApp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place.”
“Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point. Our focus remains on delivering the promise of WhatsApp far and wide, so that people around the world have the freedom to speak their mind without fear,” Koum concluded.