WhatsApp developer and co-founder Brian Acton has not been quiet about his departure from Facebook. He left shortly after he found out that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was abusing Facebook’s users and violating their privacy by selling it to advertisement agencies.
In an article by Forbes, Acton opened up about the situation that caused him to leave Facebook in 2017.
WhatsApp Developer Became Fabulously Wealthy after Facebook Acquisition
Brian Acton, WhatsApp’s co-founder, became a multi-billionaire in 2014. You see, in 2014, Facebook purchased WhatsApp to the tune of $22 billion. Note the B in the word billion. That’s a lot of money. However, in 2017, Acton left the company behind.
Acton has been very public about his distaste for Facebook’s targeted ad policies. He feels strongly that these violate the privacy of the social media network’s users. “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit,” Acton said in an interview with Forbes. “I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
Facebook’s Slippery Position
Facebook is hardly in a good position at the moment, from a PR perspective. There are accusations that Russian accounts created false advertisements during the 2016 Presidential Election, and “Fake News” has been a callsign of Facebook-shared articles ever since. In March, Facebook suffered a huge data breach courtesy of Cambridge Analytica.
And very recently, Instagram’s founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, left Facebook behind. Much like Acton, they seem to have left after disagreements with Zuckerberg regarding Facebook’s ethics.
Acton’s Public Spat with Facebook
Since leaving the company, Acton has publicly feuded with Facebook. In March, following the Cambridge Analytica breach, Acton tweeted: “It is time. #deletefacebook.” After this, David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s blockchain department, had some choice words for Acton.
“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,” Marcus wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s actually a whole new standard of low-class.”
While Marcus’ scathing reprimand seems harsh, it is easy to understand both sides of this issue. If Acton does feel true remorse for how he came by his billions, of course, there is always charity. He could just as easily leave that money he feels so guilty over to a good cause. Jokes aside, we’re interested to see how the feud between the WhatsApp developer and Facebook unfolds.