San Francisco: Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the smartphone photo-sharing service bought by Facebook six years ago for a billion dollars, the New York Times reported late Monday citing unnamed sources.
As per reports, the co-founders have resigned from their positions and plan to leave the company in coming weeks while the reason behind their move was still unknown.
Systrom and Krieger did not say why they were leaving their positions as chief executive officer and chief technical officer, but there were reports that their departure might be due to tensions between the men and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Later, Systrom wrote in a blog post that they were planning on taking some time off to explore their curiosity and creativity.
“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,” said Systrom.
“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team.”
“We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter,” the blog post added.
Zuckerberg issued a public statement about the departure saying he had “really enjoyed” working with Systrom and Krieger.
“Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents,” wrote Zuckerberg. “I’ve learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next.”
Fourth Facebook platform to pass billion active users
- Instagram in June announced it passed a billion active users, and unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube.
- It became the fourth Facebook platform to eclipse the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.
- Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.
- Instagram has been a hit with young internet users, an audience that Facebook is keen to keep in its fold.
Tough times for Facebook
- The resignations came at a time when social media platforms including Facebook were facing intense scrutiny over the spread of fake news and sinister campaigns.
- Many see Facebook as being the main vehicle for spreading false information in recent years, and of being used by nefarious interests out to sway the results of the elections such as the one that put President Donald Trump in the White House.
- The Cambridge Analytica public relations disaster, in which Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by the British consultancy firm, came on top of widespread criticism of the social network’s propensity to spread and accentuate large amounts of completely false information.
- Facebook is facing multiple inquiries from US and British regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal, and its boss Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by the European Parliament and the US Congress earlier this year.
WhatsApp co-founder also resigned in 2018
- WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum earlier this year left Facebook, which bought the smartphone messaging service for $19 billion.
- Koum said in a post on his Facebook page that he was taking time off to pursue interests such as collecting air-cooled Porsches, working on cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.
- US media reports indicated that a disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data may have also been a factor in Koum’s decision to quit his position as a high-ranking executive and likely leave his seat on the board at the leading online social network.
(With agency inputs)