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Whatsapp founder says Facebook won't spoil its privacy stance

Founder sets the record straight on suspected scandals
Tue Mar 18 2014, 13:22
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THE FOUNDER of chat app Whatsapp said that its parent Facebook will not have a negative impact on its privacy policy.

In a blog post titled "Setting the record straight", Whatsapp founder Jan Koum attempted to do just that.

"Since announcing our upcoming partnership with Facebook, we've been truly humbled by how much attention our story has received. As a company, we're excited to continue focusing on offering as many people as possible the chance to stay connected with friends and loved ones, no matter who they are or where they live," he said.

"Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of inaccurate and careless information circulating about what our future partnership would mean for Whatsapp users' data and privacy. I'd like to set the record straight."

Facebook paid $19bn for Whatsapp, which suggests that it does have some real interest in the outfit and its business model.

Koum said that he values privacy and private communications, adding that he hoped to have seen the end of that when his family moved from the Ukraine to the US.

It sounds as though he worked out what Facebook gets and what it does not get during the negotiations that valued the firm at $19bn.

"Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built Whatsapp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don't have to give us your name and we don't ask for your email address. We don't know your birthday. We don't know your home address. We don't know where you work. We don't know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by Whatsapp, and we really have no plans to change that," he added.

"If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn't have done it."

Koum said that the firms have worked together on a partnership that will let Whatsapp run autonomously and independently.

"Everything that has made Whatsapp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place. Speculation to the contrary isn't just baseless and unfounded, it's irresponsible," he added.

"It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we're suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That's just not true, and it's important to us that you know that. Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point." µ


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