Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of the photo-sharing app Instagram and the company’s current CEO and chief technical officer, have resigned and plan to leave the company in the coming weeks.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Systrom confirmed his and Krieger’s departure. “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,” said Systrom.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” he added. “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.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement to THR: “Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents. 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.”
The New York Times first reported that Systrom and Krieger were set to leave Instagram and had already notified the company’s execs as well as parent company Facebook of their decision to leave on Monday.
Systrom and Krieger founded Instagram in 2010 before selling the company to Facebook for $1 billion in 2012 and both stayed on in leadership roles. Their prospective departure is another blow to Facebook which has dealt with a litany of bad news in recent months. In July, Facebook’s market cap dropped $120 billion in a single day on the back of news that quarterly revenue did not live up to expectations and that its user metrics grew slower than some on Wall Street had predicted.
Moreover, Facebook has faced repeated criticisms over its handling of user data, the prevalence and spreading of fake news and extreme material, interference and manipulation of the company’s platform by foreign governments and the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which Zuckerberg admitted was a “major breach of trust.”
In April, Jan Koum, co-founder of the messaging app WhatsApp, which Facebook purchased for $19.3 billion in 2014, left the company’s board over reports he had become disillusioned with Facebook’s use of personal data. A month earlier, Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton, moved by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, tweeted the #DeleteFacebook hashtag that called on people to close their accounts.