WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton had disagreements with Facebook (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg over monetization of the messaging service before he left the company, according to an interview with Acton published by Forbes. Acton spent eight years with WhatsApp before leaving the company in September last year. His co-founder, Jan Koum, left the company in April in a loss of one of the strongest advocates for privacy inside Facebook.
Facebook-owned Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were the latest senior executives to leave the social media company on Monday, with many media reports saying friction with Zuckerberg had caused the departures.
The Forbes interview with Acton said that Facebook wanted to sell businesses tools to chat with WhatsApp users followed by analytics tools. However, Acton said WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption stood in the way, and Facebook managers questioned and probed ways to offer businesses analytical insights on WhatsApp users while keeping the encrypted environment.
The report said Acton had proposed monetizing WhatsApp through a metered-user model, charging users after a certain large number of free messages were used up. His plans were shot down by Sandberg, saying “It won’t scale”. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.