The privacy vs monetization debate within Facebook and WhatsApp has come to the fore again with one of the co-founders of WhatsApp Brian Acton, who left the company after spending 8 years with the messaging giant, sharing in an interview that he had differences with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The interview was given by Acton to the business journal Forbes, almost a year after parted company. The issue on which the differences arose, with the Facebook CEO and COO Sheryl Sandberg, according to Acton, was on the ideas for monetization of the WhatsApp messaging service.
It is not a secret that ever since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion, it has been keen to create some form of a revenue stream, though it has not been successful yet.
The interview reveals that the income proposal suggested by Facebook involved selling tools to businesses that would enable them to chat with WhatsApp users. This may be followed by analytics tools, Acton is supposed to have revealed in the interview.
It has also been mentioned that the idea could not be implemented due to the end-to-end encryption of messages within WhatsApp and they were trying to explore ways to get out of this hurdle and still make the proposal work.
Lastly, the Forbes interview reveals that Acton, on his part had suggested that the users can be allowed a certain minimum number of messages beyond which they can be charged, to meet the revenue objectives. That was not acceptable to the COO Sandberg.
The interview and this reference to differences with Mark Zuckerberg comes just a couple of days after two more senior executives, both co-founders of Instagram Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom also left the company. According to reports, Systrom wrote in a blog post that they were planning on taking some time off to explore their curiosity and creativity.
"We've grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We're now ready for our next chapter," the blog post added.
However, a TechCrunch report stated that mounting tensions between Instagram and Facebookâ€™s leadership with regard to Instagramâ€™s autonomy could have led to the exit of its co-founders.