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The chief executive and co-founder of WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, is leaving the company over disagreements about privacy and encryption. In a post on Facebook, he said he was "taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology".

Koum added, " I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on - just from the outside".

The Washington Post (paywall) reports that Koum was slowly worn down by the company's attempts to tie WhatsApp users into the detailed profiles that Facebook and Instagram use to target ads. Neither Koum nor Facebook could be reached by press time.

Jan Koum, one of WhatsApp's cofounders, is leaving the company.

Facebook did not address the reasons for Koum's departure from the company.

Koum's decision may be made easier thanks to the $10.4 billion fortune he's already accrued, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

"Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp", he promised.

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Facebook has drawn federal and public scrutiny in recent days after multiple news outlets reported a British firm had improperly accessed the personal data of up to 87 million users.

The first comment to appear below Koum's Facebook post is a carefully worded statement from Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The harvested data was later used by Cambridge Analytica used data to target voters in the United States general election in 2016 raises tough questions for both companies.

Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp, the app Facebook bought for $19.3 billion, announced today that he's leaving after clashes over privacy.

Since the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal hit in March, there have been growing concerns about Facebook's handling of personal information.

In February, he invested $50 million in encrypted messaging service Signal through the newly founded nonprofit Signal Foundation and a month later, he publicly supported the #deletefacebook movement, by asking all his Twitter followers to delete Facebook.

WhatsApp, a pun on the phrase "What's up?", only stores messages on users' smartphones and not on the company's servers, making the service more private and hard to hack.

Mr. Koum's departure followed an internal debate over whether to put advertising in WhatsApp, a move that Mr. Koum opposed, as did Mr. Acton, according to a person familiar with the matter. Koum and Acton and other Facebook executives, the person said.