Instagram’s co-founders have resigned from the Facebook-owned company

instagrams co founders to leave company 16th annual webby awards
Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the company — signaling further troubles for the enormous social media company.

Reports suggesting that the pair had resigned their positions as CEO and chief technology officer, respectively, first appeared in The New York Times on Monday, September 24, but a statement issued by Systrom a short while later confirmed their departure from Instagram and parent company Facebook.

“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom said in the statement, adding they were “ready for our next chapter.”

He said both he and Krieger are “planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. 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.”

Finally, Systrom said they both “remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook” adding that they’re now transitioning “from leaders to two users in a billion.”

Their departure follows that of Facebook’s top sales exec Bob Gruters, who quit Facebook in September — and joined Digital Trends as Chief Revenue Officer.

In a statement released to Digital Trends by Instagram, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Systrom and Krieger as “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.”

According to the Times’ report, Systrom, 34, and Krieger, 32, informed Facebook’s top team of their decision on Monday.

The reported departures come as social media platforms face increasing scrutiny about the content that appears on their services, with serious concerns raised over Russian interference in U.S. elections both past and upcoming. There’s no suggestion at this stage, however, that the growing pressure on social media services played any role in Systrom and Krieger’s departure, though its fair to say that Instagram has escaped much of the trouble experienced by its parent company over the last couple of years. Facebook’s stock peaked at nearly $220 in July; it hovers around $160 today, a vast lost of money that signals serious trouble for the company.

Instagram launched in 2010 and picked up 100,000 users in just its first week. When Facebook acquired it for $1 billion in 2012, the photo-sharing app had 50 million users, but since then Systrom has taken Instagram from strength to strength, expanding the service to a billion monthly active users globally in June 2018.

WhatsApp all over again?

Systrom and Krieger’s reported departure mirrors the resignations of WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton. The popular messaging app was acquired by Facebook for an incredible $19 billion in 2014, but Koum, at the time CEO of WhatsApp, left in April 2018.

In a message at the time, Koum said only that he was “taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology,” though a report in the Washington Post suggested his resignation came after a clash with Facebook over data privacy issues as well as the messaging service’s business strategy.

Four months after he left in November 2017, Acton tweeted his support for the #DeleteFacebook movement that had gained momentum following Facebook’s damaging Cambridge Analytica scandal.

There haven’t been any obvious signs of tension between Instagram’s top team and Facebook, but that’s not to say there wasn’t any. We’ll just have to see if either Systrom or Krieger choose to offer any more information about their decision in the coming days and weeks.


Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?
Home Theater

AT&T takes aim at Netflix with HBO-led streaming service set for a 2019 launch

HBO fans have worried that parent company AT&T was looking to turn it into Netflix, but the company is now looking to instead launch a new, separate streaming service with programming from HBO, as well as Warner properties.
Social Media

Instagram says its A.I. can track down bullying in photos

Instagram is turning to artificial intelligence to help it root out bullying on its platform. Following similar efforts to target bullying in comments, the company now has systems capable of detecting bullying in photos, too.
Social Media

Snap a photo to follow a new friend on Instagram with its Nametags tool

Skip the typing and search bar -- Instagram now allows you to add friends using the in-app camera. Nametags are scannable graphics that will lead straight to your Instagram profile.

Facebook’s latest data breach could earn Europeans thousands in compensation

Facebook users in Europe distressed about Facebook's revelation that its latest breach left as many as 50 million users exposed could get some compensation. Facebook also faces a class-action suit and a broader GDPR investigation.

Voice commands could be coming to Facebook Messenger

Thanks to digital assistants, voice controls are becoming commonplace. One day, we may even be using them in Facebook Messenger. The company has confirmed that it is currently conducting internal tests for Messenger voice commands.

Find love with the best LGBT dating apps for iOS and Android

If you're looking to meet someone new, look no further than your phone. Whether it's just a date, or you're looking for something a little more serious, here are the best LGBT dating apps available for Android and iOS.
Smart Home

Creepy or convenient? Facebook’s new Portal smart display follows you around the room

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Amazon Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls between FB friends. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you…

2018's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

Google to shut down Google+ after exposure of 500,000 users’ data

After Facebook revealed that 50 million users may have been exposed as a result of a security vulnerability, Google announced it discovered a bug that left 500,000 Google+ users exposed. It will also shut down Google+.
Social Media

Sick of Facebook privacy scandals? Here's how to protect your personal data

With a number of security scandals in 2018, it has us questioning if we should get rid of Facebook. Here's how to protect your personal data without deleting your account, as well as how to just nuke the thing altogether.
Social Media

These are the best ways to make an animated GIF

Love sharing GIFs with your friends and peers, but wish you could make your own? Here's how to do so in Photoshop, or using a few other methods that don't require you to shell out a premium fee with each calendar year.
Social Media

Snapchat is using VR to let you step inside its new original shows

Tuning in to your favorite shows not enough? Snap Originals will allow viewers to set into a virtual set. The new exclusive shows debut today with three different shows. Snap Originals are vertical, short, and exclusive to the platform.