If you were to make a list of things least worthy of your tears, the wistful tale of a man who sold his soul to Facebook for billions of dollars would surely nestle somewhere between, say, Tim Cook having to charge his iPhone in a McDonald’s and Jeff Bezos wetting himself. But WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton will be damned if his voice isn’t heard.
In an interview with Forbes, Acton opens up about his disappointment over known cold-eyed monetising machine Mark Zuckerberg wanting to introduce targeted advertising to the messaging app, which led to his decision to walk away last year.
The message was definitely read by Facebook exec David Marcus, who leapt to Zuckerberg’s defence and called Acton “a whole new standard of low-class” for attacking the company that, to be fair, did make him unthinkably wealthy for the right to mercilessly exploit WhatsApp and its users however it can.
This isn’t even news to Acton, who freely admits he’s a sellout. So what’s the point of the interview? Marcus’s impassioned response is a shorter and far juicier insight into the inner politics of Facebook – namely the part where he lets go of a long-contained resentment about the office layout being changed to accommodate WhatsApp’s staff, which apparently “irritated a lot of people”.