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Photo: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images

The departures of Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the creators of WhatsApp, from Facebook followed disagreements over how to squeeze more revenue out of the messaging platform using user data — costing them about $1.3 billion, the WSJ's Kirsten Grind and Deepa Seetharaman scoop.

Why it matters: The disagreement stems from WhatsApp's hesitance to monetize using targeted ads — Acton and Koum have notably advocated for user privacy — as Facebook attempts to leverage the service's vast user base to justify its $22 billion acquisition in 2014.

  • At the time of the acquisition, Zuckerberg said he and Koum agreed advertising wasn’t the right way to leverage revenue out of WhatsApp.
  • Facebook stopped increasing the number of ads in its News Feed in 2016, which added pressure to make more money via WhatsApp, especially as other acquisitions like Oculus VR, LiveRail, and Parse, failed to rake in cash, per the WSJ

Their departure was “very passive aggressive,” one person familiar with the relationship told the WSJ. However, others claimed Acton and Koum left Facebook because they believed they couldn’t win the disagreement but still wanted to maintain their relationship with Zuckerberg

  • Acton, who left Facebook last September, tweeted that he would be deleting his Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, reportedly surprising colleagues at Facebook who thought he had left amicably.
  • Other disagreements between WhatsApp and Facebook employees included the fact that WhatsApp’s bathroom doors that extended to the floor and WhatsApp employees' large desk size.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
43 mins ago - Energy & Environment

IEA analysis charts "narrow" pathway to Paris climate goal

Photovoltaic solar panels at the power plant in La Colle des Mees, Alpes de Haute Provence, southeastern France. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

The pathway for transforming global energy systems to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is "narrow but still achievable" and demands unprecedented acceleration away from fossil fuels, an International Energy Agency report published Tuesday concludes.

Why it matters: It provides detailed analysis and estimates of what's needed for a good shot at limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels — the Paris Agreement benchmark for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Deadly Cyclone Tauktae leaves trail of destruction across India

A police officer helps a public transport driver cross a flooded street due to heavy rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai, India, on May 17. Photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 16 people in India after making landfall in Gujarat Monday, packing 100mph winds, and sweeping across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, per Reuters.

The big picture: The storm unleashed heavy rains and winds as authorities continued to grapple with surging infection rates and deaths from COVID-19. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from Gujarat, and ports, airports and vaccination centers shut in the state and Mumbai, Reuters reports. Tauktae weakened from a Category 3 storm into a "severe cyclonic storm" Tuesday morning local time.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Yellen wants business to help foot infrastructure bill

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is heading into the belly of the beast Tuesday and asking the business community to support President Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Why it matters: By trying to persuade a skeptical and targeted audience, Yellen is signaling the president’s commitment to raising corporate taxes to pay for his plan. Republican senators, critical to a potential bipartisan deal, oppose any corporate tax increase.