Instagram co-founders stepping down from Facebook

The co-founders said they want to explore their creativity

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that Instagram reflected the Instagram founders' "combined creative talents".

According to a report in The New York Times late on Monday, 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 created the photo-based social network in 2010, Facebook bought it only two years later for a hefty sum of $1 billion. Meanwhile, Facebook is losing its grip on users' attention, with time spent on its primary service down 7% year on year this month. They clearly want to build something new, but it "requires that we step back".

Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram, prepares for an announcement about IGTV in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 19.

They notified the photo-sharing app's leadership team and Facebook on Monday about their decision to leave, according to Instagram. That changed. But so did the number of users - now more than a billion. With more than 2.2 billion users, Facebook is running out of people in the world to sign up for its social network, and can only push so many advertisements into its news feed.

Kevin Systrom is a co-founder and chief executive of Instagram
Image Kevin Systrom is a co-founder and chief executive of Instagram

However, Bloomberg reported the executives had grown "frustrated" with Zuckerberg's increased involvement in the brand's direction, which is one of Facebook's most successful segments.

Their departure comes less than six months after WhatsApp's founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton quit Facebook, after clashing with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over privacy and data protection following the Cambridge Analytica scandal which rocked the company. Facebook bought the popular photo-sharing app in 2012 for $1 billion and has.

Technology stocks have propelled the United States stock market to record highs in recent years, with FAANG shares (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) soaring about 58 per cent last year.

"Our sense is the duo may have wanted to run Instagram more independently than their parent company wanted", said Scott Kessler, an analyst at the research firm CFRA.

Facebook's stock hasn't recovered from the hit, either. One distinction is that the WhatsApp disputes centered on the debate over whether to allow ads within the messaging service, which the co-founders had long opposed, whereas Instagram embraced ads early on. Breakingviews has previously calculated that Instagram could be worth more than $80 billion as a standalone company.

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