'When WhatsApp sold its giant messaging platform to Facebook for $22 billion, “I sold my users’ privacy,” one of the company’s co-founders said.
WhatsApp founder Mike Acton has opened up about some of the moral struggles he has faced since selling the encrypted messaging app to Facebook, a company that makes money by collecting information on its users and selling that information to advertisers.
During the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, it was revealed that the UK pollster had harvested vast amounts of personal information about millions of users on Facebook and then flipped that information to political candidates, including Donald Trump. Acton dropped a bombshell tweet after the news broke: "it is time. #DeleteFacebook."
Acton, his co-founder and investors collected $19 billion from Facebook in exchange for their company in 2014. Acton stayed on and continued to work under Facebook's umbrella with some degree of autonomy. "At the end of the day, I sold my company," he told Forbes Wednesday. "I sold my users' privacy for a larger benefit. I made a choice, and I made a compromise… I am a sellout. I acknowledge that."
Acton left the company in 2017 before he could earn $850 million in vested stock options, however, he still made a $3.6 billion fortune from selling WhatsApp, technologist Chris Garrafa told Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary. "He did walk away from some stock stuff, and that cost him $850 million, but he's still worth $3.6 billion. I am feeling less sympathetic than I was a day or so ago when I first started reading this. He got what he wanted out of this, so now he's using that fame to do this. I'm glad he posted #DeleteFacebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But he says himself: ‘I sold out my users,'" Garrafa said Thursday.'
Read more: WhatsApp Founder Admits to Selling Users’ Privacy to Facebook