Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton says he had no choice but to sell to Facebook

It’s no secret that WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has quite a complicated relationship with Facebook, the company he sold his business to for $19 billion in 2014.

It’s not just the above tweet, sent during the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal either. Last September, Acton was even more blunt in an interview with Forbes, saying: “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.

But now in a rare public appearance at his old alma mater, Stanford University, he’s revealed that he didn’t really feel like he had a choice but to sell his baby to Facebook five years ago.

Related: WhatsApp tips and tricks

“You go back to this Silicon Valley culture and people say, ‘Well, could you have not sold?’ and the answer is no,” he said, as quoted by Buzzfeed, adding that it was a “rational choice” to take “a boatload of money.”

“I had 50 employees, and I had to think about them and the money they would make from this sale. I had to think about our investors and I had to think about my minority stake. I didn’t have the full clout to say no if I wanted to,” he said.

But if there was any suggestion of Acton’s view of Facebook softening in general, that was put to rest later on when he repeated his call for the students in the audience to delete Facebook.

Related: How to delete Facebook

“To be brutally honest, the curated networks — the open networks — struggle to decide what’s hate speech and what’s not hate speech… Apple struggles to decide what’s a good app and what’s a bad app. Google struggles with what’s a good website and what’s a bad website. These companies are not equipped to make these decisions.

“And we give them the power. That’s the bad part. We buy their products. We sign up for these websites. Delete Facebook, right?”

Have you deleted Facebook? Why? Let us know on Twitter (if you’re still there): @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words