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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton wants everyone to delete Facebook

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton also defended the decision to sell the app to Mark Zuckerberg saying it was a “rational choice” to take “a boatload of money.”

tech Updated: Mar 14, 2019 13:29 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Brian Acton defends the decision to sell WhatsApp to Facebook
Brian Acton defends the decision to sell WhatsApp to Facebook(Reuters)

Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, has asked people to delete their Facebook accounts. He, however, defended his decision to sell WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.

During a panel discussion at Stanford University, Acton revealed that the smaller companies in Silicon Valley are pressured to chase venture capital and accept large exits to appease employees and stakeholders.

“You go back to this Silicon Valley culture and people say, ‘Well, could you have not sold?’ and the answer is no,” Buzzfeed quotes Acton as saying.

He also described his decision to accept Facebook’s offer as “rational choice” to go home with “a boatload of money.”

“I had 50 employees, and I had to think about them and the money they would make from this sale. I had to think about our investors and I had to think about my minority stake. I didn’t have the full clout to say no if I wanted to,” he added.

ALSO READ: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton reveals why he walked away from Facebook

Acton was also critical of the efforts to moderate content on the social networking platforms in the wake of growing concerns over misinformation and spread of hate content.

“To be brutally honest, the curated networks — the open networks — struggle to decide what’s hate speech and what’s not hate speech. ... Apple struggles to decide what’s a good app and what’s a bad app. Google struggles with what’s a good website and what’s a bad website. These companies are not equipped to make these decisions,” he said.

“And we give them the power. That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?” he added.

This is not the first time Acton has criticised Facebook and its monetisation efforts. Last year in April, Acton had asked everyone to delete Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

During the panel discussion at Stanford University, Acton slammed the tech companies for being intrusive and not focusing on users’ privacy.

“The capitalistic profit motive, or answering to Wall Street, is what’s driving the expansion of invasion of data privacy and driving the expansion of a lot of negative outcomes that we’re just not happy with. I wish there were guardrails there. I wish there was ways to rein it in. I have yet to see that manifest, and that scares me,” he added.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 13:17 IST

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