WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum leaving parent company Facebook amid privacy scandal

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The co-founder of WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging service owned by Facebook, has announced he is stepping aside.

“I’ve been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world”, Jan Koum wrote in a Facebook post.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg quickly chimed in with warm words for a man whose business he acquired for $19bn (£13.8bn) in 2014.

“I’m grateful for everything you’ve done to help connect the world, and 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”, Mr Zuckerberg wrote.

Neither post addressed heightened alarm about Facebook’s data privacy safeguards spurred by the disclosure that up to 87 million Facebook users saw their personal data funnelled to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

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