Facebook – the social network equivalent of Kim Kardashian. It has millions of followers and does absolutely nothing to enrich your life, but still manages to make it into the news for doing something stupid every other day.
Also, like Kim, Facebook relies on apps like Instagram to stay relevant. Especially because it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that the social network is a toilet.
So what are they up to now?
Back in 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $16 billion. Now co-founder Brian Acton has opened up about his unease with regard to Facebook’s intentions for the messaging app.
The Telegraph reports that Acton “has claimed that he sold his users’ privacy to Facebook”.
“At the end of the day, I sold my company,” Mr Acton told Forbes magazine. […] I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
Acton announced his resignation from Facebook a year ago, but hasn’t spoken about his reasons until now.
Mr Acton now says that he chose to leave Facebook due to increasing pressure to aggressively make more money from users of the service.
Mr Acton recalled meetings with senior Facebook managers including Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive, and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg where WhatsApp was encouraged to serve advertisements to users and to release business tools for the service.
“It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don’t want to do. It’s better if I get out of your way. And I did,” Mr Acton told Forbes magazine.
Ah, so that’s why my phone keeps playing random ads – not cool. Here’s Acton with co-founder Jan Koum (the big guy), using what I assume was an early prototype of the messaging app.
Acton says he resigned because of Facebook’s increasing interference in WhatsApp. He expected to receive:
…a full complement of Facebook stock because of an agreement with the company which would have seen him granted shares early if Facebook implemented monetisation too aggressively.
Mark Zuckerberg disagreed with the claim and Acton didn’t receive the shares when he left the company. Acton will not be pursuing legal action over the dispute, instead acknowledging, “at the end of the day, I sold my company. I am a sellout. I acknowledge that”.
David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, says that the reality of the situation differs greatly from Acton’s version of events.
In an unusual intervention which he claimed nobody at Facebook had asked him to make, Mr Marcus said Mr Acton had been repeatedly protected and indulged by Mark Zuckerberg but had deliberately dragged his feet when implementing new projects.
“Mark personally shields founders from what typically frustrates them in larger companies, giving them unprecedented autonomy,” Mr Marcus wrote.
“Call me old fashioned, but I find attacking the people and company that made you a billionaire, and went to an unprecedented extent to shield and accommodate you for years, low-class.
I love it when billionaires talk about class and what they think it is.
WhatsApp’s other co-founder, Mr Koum, announced in April that he would leave Facebook, amid reports of similar clashes with Facebook management.
In a statement at the time, Mr Koum said that he would be “taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee”.
So normal stuff then. I myself have multiple frisbees and air-cooled Porsches.
It’s starting to look like Facebook doesn’t play well with others, and is going to have to stop biting kids in the playground if it wants to make any new friends.
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