The co-founders of the world’s favourite image-sharing social platform, Instagram, announced that they will leave the company in the coming months — making it the second Facebook-acquired company to lose a founder after WhatsApp’s Jan Koum resigned earlier this year.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger published a blog post confirming their resignation, and said that they plan to take some time off and “explore their creativity and curiosity” before they embark on new ventures. Though the blog post is very diplomatic and says nothing of feuds with Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg, rumours suggest growing animosity between the Insta founders and the Zuck may have a role to play in the formers’ decision to depart the company they started.
Instagram is arguably Facebook’s most successful acquisition — Zuckerberg bought it for $1 billion, and it’s worth far more than that now. Other than the monetary value, Instagram has more than one billion active monthly users. That’s a lot of wanna-be photographers…
“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom says. “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 1 billion.”
Systrom and Krieger aren’t the first Facebook-acquired founders to abandon their positions. Earlier this year, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left Facebook over apparent disagreements about user privacy and data-sharing. Koum’s fellow co-founder Brian Acton also left Facebook in September 2017. If Systrom or Krieger share similar misgivings about Facebook as Koum and Acton, they’re not letting on — at least not right now.
Mr Zuckerberg apparently likes taking credit for the massive success of Insta, and many people close to the matter weren’t really amused. In the most recent call, Zuckerberg explained that Instagram grew twice as fast being part of Facebook as it could have on its own, a wildly unprovable statement that Insta-insiders were allegedly peeved about.
Recently, Facebook decided to poach Insta’s chief operating officer, Marne Levine, to become Facebook’s global head of business development. That means he had to be replaced…
Zuckerberg decided to place Adam Mosseri, who ran Facebook’s News Feed, in the operations position at Insta. And he will likely be the successor to the current founders.
Whether the founders have a deeper agenda with this move or not, we cannot know for sure — but their resignation might hint at dissatisfaction with what their baby has become (an ad-laden, non-linear, algorithmic time suck) under the oversight of the big blue giant.