According to BuzzFeed, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton was speaking to students last Wednesday at Stanford University, his alma mater. He was one of the guest speakers for an undergraduate class called Computer Science 181, which teaches students about the social and ethical responsibilities that tech companies have. After discussing how he founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum after they both left Yahoo, he explained why he sold WhatsApp to Facebook. Acton felt responsible for the 50 WhatsApp employees that would get rich from the sale. He also had to think about the investors, and realized that with his minority stake in the company, he couldn’t block the deal even if he wanted to. Both co-founders hoped that they could charge users a small fee, like it used to, to ward off Facebook’s monetization plans, which involved selling ads. But Facebook ended up selling ads on the app, hastening the departure of Acton and Koum.
During his visit to Stanford, Acton gave the students a recommendation. “Delete Facebook,” he said. This wasn’t the first time he made this comment. About a year ago, after word first came out about the 87 million Facebook members whose profiles were used by Cambridge Analytica without their consent, Acton disseminated a simple tweet. “It is time,” he wrote, followed by the hashtag #deleteFacebook.