Facebook bought mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for £11.4bn
Facebook bought mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp for £11.4bnReuters

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has denied reports that the popular messaging platform would compromise on its privacy policies following the multi-billion takeover by Facebook.

In a blog titled "Setting the record straight", Koum said the reports were "inaccurate and careless". He said that speculation about a change in WhatsApp's privacy policy is baseless, unfounded, and irresponsible.

"Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible," he said.

"You don't have to give us your name and we don't ask for your email address. 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."

He added that WhatsApp would not have agreed on the deal with Facebook, if the social media giant wanted to change the application's privacy policies.

"We are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change," he said.

"Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point. 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.

Privacy Policy Concerns

Following Facebook's $19bn (£11.4bn, €13.7bn) acquisition of WhatsApp, privacy advocates complained to US regulators that the messaging app would share user data to the social networking giant. They also asked the regulators to block the deal.

"Users provided detailed personal information to the company including private text to close friends. Facebook routinely makes use of user information for advertising purposes and has made clear that it intends to incorporate the data of WhatsApp users into the user profiling business model," the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy wrote in a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission.

"The proposed acquisition will therefore violate WhatsApp users' understanding of their exposure to online advertising and constitutes an unfair and deceptive trade practice, subject to investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."

Koum's statement is likely to ease concerns of WhatsApp's users about possible breach of privacy.