Instagram founders resign amid reports of tensions with Zuckerberg
Instagram’s co-founders are stepping down from the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app, with reports of growing tensions against Mark Zuckerberg over the platform’s direction.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger said they are resigning to “explore our curiosity and creativity again”, but did not give specific reasons for the departure.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg suggests there has been growing frustration over Zuckerberg’s day-to-day involvement in the service – which has become an increasingly dominant part of Facebook’s portfolio.
Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012, and now boasts 1 billion monthly active users. Systrom and Krieger have been with the company throughout this time, and the later wrote in a statement that he is “grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team”.
Instagram’s growth over the past few years had a lot to do with its strategic positioning to Facebook; leveraging the latter’s engineering resources whilst maintaining a sense of independence from Zuckerberg’s social network. You could even argue that Instagram was positioned as an anti-Facebook, although there has been a notable creep of ads and Facebook-style branding in recent updates.
If an increase in CEO meddling is behind Systrom and Krieger’s departure, expect future iterations of Instagram to be brought more explicitly into the fold with Facebook.
“Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement. “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.”
This isn’t the only recent high-profile resignation from Facebook’s properties. In April, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum left the company, following reports of clashes with Zuckerberg over parent-company Facebook’s approach to data privacy.