The guy who sold his company to Facebook for $19 billion is now telling people to get off Facebook.
Brian Acton, who co-founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum, sold the messaging platform to Facebook in 2014. It was a simpler time, long before all of the shit hit the fan for Facebook. Since November, we’ve found out that Facebook was used by Russian spies to influence elections and that it may have “substantially contributed” to genocide in Myanmar. In the last week, the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal continues to bring new aspects of the social network’s inner workings to light.
Facebook is now in full-on crisis mode, as the company’s stocks plunge. It’s lost $50 billion in market value this week, the Federal Trade Commission is toying with the idea of opening an investigation, and Alex Stamos, its chief security officer, is on his way out. Mark Zuckerberg is silent.
And then we have Acton, jumping in on the #deletefacebook hashtag on Twitter. Facebook turned him down for a job in 2009, but after selling WhatsApp he's worth billions of dollars. While Koum stayed on the company board, Acton left to start his own non-profit, and announced the launch of the non-profit Signal Foundation in February to advocate for open-source privacy technology. Now, he’s calling for his nearly 30,000 Twitter followers to dump the app.
Correction: This story originally included another tweet from a fake account pretending to belong to Brian Acton. Motherboard regrets the error.