Eight years after launching Instagram, six of those under Facebook, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, co-founders of the photo-sharing app are leaving the company.
The news was first reported by the New York Times on Monday evening, and confirmed several hours later in a blog post Systrom wrote, in which he said the two wanted to “explore our curiosity and creativity again.”
The announcement also indicated that the duo would set out to create something new.
“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,” it read.
Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, when user numbers for the app were around 30 million. It now boasts over a billion users. The departures of Systrom and Krieger are likely to add uncertainty to the sustained turmoil that Facebook has been grappling with over user privacy and its battle to contain the spread of false information.
In April, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, founders of Whatsapp, the messenging service also acquired by Facebook, left the company over reported clashes over data privacy.
Facebook has been pivoting Instagram to incorporate other revenue streams besides just advertisements, rolling out shopping in its Stories feature, alongside a new dedicated shopping channel in the “Explore” area. It also launched IGTV in June, allowing vertical videos for up to 60 minutes.
Systrom’s full statement is below:
“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.
We’re 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.
We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.”