WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton in an interview with Forbes said that he left the company after he developed disagreements with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg over monetization of WhatsApp. This interview was published on Wednesday.
The social media networking site, Facebook bought the messaging service app WhatsApp in 2014 for 21 billion dollars. Whatsapp is used by more than 1.5 billion people and provides ad-free, encrypted messaging as a core feature.
Acton’s resignation was followed by Facebook-owned Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger who resigned on Monday. They said in a blog post they were leaving the photo-sharing network to “explore their curiosity and creativity again” but According to some media reports, their departure might be due to tensions between them and the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Brian Acton worked for eight years with Whatsapp. He resigned in September last year. His co-founder Jan Koum left Facebook in April this year.
In his interview with Forbes, Acton further mentioned that Facebook wanted to sell businesses tools to chat with WhatsApp users followed by analytics tools.
However, it became impossible because of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. Facebook managers probed ways to offer businesses analytical insights on WhatsApp users while keeping the encryption intact.
Acton said in the interview that he had proposed monetizing WhatsApp through a metered-user model which will charge users after they would end up with the free messages range. Sandberg rejected his plan saying that “It won’t scale”.
Acton also recalls when he went to Zuckerberg’s office where a Facebook lawyer was also present. Acton made clear that the disagreement between him and Facebook over the monetization means he could get his full allocation of stock. Facebook’s lawyer disagreed and said that WhatsApp had only been exploring monetization initiatives but was not “implementing” them.
Till yet, Facebook has not responded to this interview and refused to make any comment on it.