WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has hit back at claims the service will change its privacy policies in the wake of being bought by Facebook calling the reports “careless and inaccurate”.
Koum, who lived out his early years in Ukraine, penned a blog post that stated the purchase by Facebook won’t have an effect on the company’s core ideals that includes not asking users for names, email addresses or birthdays, or allowing data to be used for advertising.
“Since announcing our upcoming partnership with Facebook, we’ve been truly humbled by how much attention our story has received,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of inaccurate and careless information circulating about what our future partnership would mean for WhatsApp users’ data and privacy.”
Koum’s words come after various privacy groups called on US regulators to probe the purchase due to worries over Facebook using the data for advertising purposes even though it has denied it will do so. Most point to the u-turn it made when it bought Instagram, which saw it change the service's privacy policies to allow advertising.
This came after a prominent German privacy watchdog had urged WhatsApp users to delete the app from devices after the purchase as the two firms “refuse to comply with European and German Data protection regulations” and mentioned the deal makes NSA access to communications data more intrusive.
Koum, meanwhile, is under no illusions as to the effect the speculation has on people’s attitudes and reiterated that most of what is being said is completely untrue.
"Speculation to the contrary isn't just baseless and unfounded, it's irresponsible," he added. "It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we're suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That's just not true."
Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion [£11.39 billion] in February and Koum strongly suggests that the purchase would never have gone through if it meant the companies values changing and from his corner it certainly seems the privacy groups have little to worry about.
“If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously,” Koum added.