- Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos said it was “foolish” to expect WhatsApp to remain largely revenue-free after Facebook paid $19 billion for the messaging service in 2014.
- It followed a scathing interview with WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton. He told Forbes about the clashes he had with Facebook bosses over monetizing WhatsApp.
- Stamos said he wasn’t picking sides, however. “There are people I respect on both sides,” he said in a 13-part tweet thread.
The fallout from WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton’s explosive Forbes interview continues.
Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos, who only left the building last month, weighed in with his views on Wednesday after Acton lifted the lid on clashes he had with Facebook bosses over monetizing WhatsApp.
Acton said he and cofounder Jan Koum protested vehemently against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to push advertising on to WhatsApp.
But Stamos said it was unrealistic to expect WhatsApp to remain largely revenue-free after Facebook paid $19 billion for the messaging service in 2014. In a tweet storm, which was focused on WhatsApp’s decision to introduce end-to-end encryption, Stamos said:
“I think it is easy to underestimate how radical WhatsApp’s decision to deploy E2E was. Acton and Koum, with Zuck’s blessing, jumped off a bridge with the goal of building a monetization parachute on the way down.
“FB has a lot of money, so it was a very tall bridge, but it is foolish to expect that FB shareholders are going to subsidize a free text/voice/video global communications network forever. Eventually, WhatsApp is going to need to generate revenue.”
Stamos made clear, however, that he was not taking sides in a row that turned personal this week. “There are people I respect on both sides,” he said in a 13-part Twitter thread, which you can read here.
Acton’s most explosive anecdote involved Zuckerberg. During his interview with Forbes, Acton recalled a meeting, in which he asked if Facebook’s insistence on introducing ads meant he could exit and take his full allocation of stock. “This is probably the last time you’ll ever talk to me,” Acton remembered Zuckerberg saying to him.
Soon after the scathing interview went live, Facebook executive David Marcus published a lengthy blog post attacking his former colleague Acton, calling him “a whole new standard of low-class” and accusing him of working to slow down certain business objectives while he was at the company.
Marcus, who is one of Facebook’s most powerful executives and heads up the company’s blockchain efforts, insisted that no one at Facebook had asked him to write the post.