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WhatsApp boss hits out at user privacy fears

Attacks rumours saying ‘If partnering with Facebook meant changing our values, we wouldn’t have done it’

London: Messaging app WhatsApp is being acquired by Facebook for up to $19bn, but the company’s chief executive has hit out at speculation that its approach to user privacy will change as a result.

Jan Koum published a blog post criticising the “inaccurate and careless information circulating about what our future partnership would mean for WhatsApp users’ data and privacy”, and claiming that the company will stick to the principles that have helped it attract 465 million users to its app. “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address,” wrote Koum.

“We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

For its part, Facebook has been singing from the same hymn sheet ever since the deal was announced. “It would be pretty stupid for us to interfere in a big way,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg had told analysts after the acquisition. 

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