Facebook’s decision to acquire popular chat app WhatsApp for a sum of $19 billion has spawned a whole lot of criticism as it would mean less privacy for users. Considering Facebook’s history of collecting and sharing users’ data with advertisers, two privacy groups earlier filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming the purchase could be an unfair trade practice. Dismissing these concerns, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum on Monday said that his company had no plans to collect additional user data at behest of Facebook.
In a blog post titled Setting The Record Straight, Koum said: “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.”
Koum, who will soon be joining Facebook’s board of directors, said that as someone who grew up under Soviet rule he values the principle of private communication.
“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,” added Koum.
At last month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had made similar statements assuring the audience that users won’t get to experience any change in WhatsApp privacy policies once Facebook takes over.