In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded the photo-sharing app Instagram which has over 1 billion active monthly users – have both just resigned, giving little explanation for the move, the New York Times reported late Monday evening.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Systrom said in a blog post late Monday. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
Systrom added that they both “remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion.”
“We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.”
Instagram, became an overnight success, attracting tens of millions of users before the co-founders sold it to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. The photo-app’s global revenue this year is set to exceed $8 billion, showed data from advertising consultancy EMarketer.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, described Systrom and Krieger as “extraordinary product leaders.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next,” he said in a statement.
“I see Mark [Zuckerberg] practice a tremendous amount of restraint in giving us the freedom to run, but the reason why I think he gives us the freedom to run is because when we run, it typically works,” Systrom told Recode last June.
Facebook had started mentioning Instagram more and more on its earnings calls, taking credit for its success. In the most recent call, Zuckerberg explained that Instagram grew twice as fast when it became part of Facebook, as it would have on its own, a statement that many Instagram insiders felt was unprovable and unnecessary, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg reported: For years, Systrom and Krieger were able to amicably resist certain Facebook product initiatives that they felt went against their vision, while leaning on Facebook for resources, infrastructure and engineering talent. A new leader may not be able to keep the same balance, or may be more willing to make changes that help the overall company at the expense of some of Instagram’s unique qualities.
Co-Founder of Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, Jan Koum, just recently left the social media network in May, which followed the exit of his WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. Acton actually backed other calls this year for people to delete Facebook as mounting anger over Cambridge Analytica’s ability to access millions of users’ data without their knowledge became clear.
Just how long Systrom and Kieger will remain with the company is yet to be seen.
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