WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum reiterated in a blog post Monday that his hit messaging application will not bend to its soon-to-be overlords at Facebook. With the note, the messaging chief tried to assuage fears that his application would become lax in its approach to member privacy.
Last month, WhatsApp agreed to be acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in cash and stock. When the deal was announced, Koum promised the app's 465 million monthly active users that nothing would change. Some members, however, are understandably skeptical given Facebook's history of collecting and sharing member data with advertisers.
"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," said Koum, who will be joining Facebook's board of directors when the deal closes. "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."
Koum's words echo his previous statements and Facebook's commitment to let WhatsApp govern itself autonomously.
"Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point," Koum wrote. "Our focus remains on delivering the promise of WhatsApp far and wide, so that people around the world have the freedom to speak their mind without fear."
The promise also comes as WhatsApp readies the release of voice calling, which is expected in the second quarter of this year.