With 459 million active users in India, WhatsApp is the preferred texting platform with billions of messages sent across every single day.
And the next best thing right now, among privacy advocates, seems to be Signal — a secure and private messaging app that was actually created by one of the founders of WhatsApp — Brian Acton. But who really is Brian Acton?
Who is Brian Acton?
Born in Michigan, Brian Acton graduated from Stanford University, studying computer science. Before creating WhatsApp with his friend Jan Koum, he has worked as a product tester for Apple and Adobe. He’s even worked at Yahoo.
But not long after, he experienced a series of setbacks, getting rejected from large tech companies like Twitter and Facebook. But he didn’t give up and eventually built out WhatsApp, which turned out to be insanely successful.
Brian Acton was a part of WhatsApp when it was acquired by Facebook in the year 2014, for $19 billion. However, Acton decided to call it quits at the social media company after CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were forcing Acton to monetise the texting app, which was something Acton was strongly against. His exit in 2017 from the company cost him approximately $850 million in stock which he left behind.
Soon after quitting the company, Brian Acton teamed up with Moxie Marlinspike of Open Whisper Systems to form the texting platform Signal as well as Signal Foundation in 2018.
At Signal, the emphasis was given only to the privacy of its users and their data. Brian is the president of the aforementioned company and initially funded $50 million.
The texting platform is open-sourced which means it’s completely transparent — anyone in the world can look at the way the texting app functions (its code) and make sure that there is no misuse of user data in the background.
The company is financed through a series of grants and donations that are offered either by its users or privacy advocates across the globe, eliminating the need for any kind of data collection or tracking for targeting ads.