Instagram co-founders resign in latest Facebook
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[September 25, 2018]
By Paresh Dave
Rockville, MD (Reuters) - Instagram on
Monday said co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have resigned as
chief executive officer and chief technical officer of the photo-sharing
app owned by Facebook Inc, giving scant explanation for the move.
The departures at Facebook's fastest-growing revenue generator come just
months after the exit of Jan Koum, co-founder of Facebook-owned
messaging app WhatsApp, leaving the social network without the
developers behind two of its biggest services.
They also come at a time when Facebook's core platform is under fire for
how it safeguards customer data, as it defends against political efforts
to spread false information, and as younger users increasingly prefer
alternative ways to stay in touch with family and friends. Concerns over
Facebook's business sparked the biggest one-day wipeout in U.S. stock
market history in July.
Systrom wrote in a blog post on Monday that he and Krieger planned to
take time off and explore "our curiosity and creativity again".
Their announcement came after increasingly frequent clashes with
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of Instagram,
In a statement, Zuckerberg described the two as "extraordinary product
"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," Zuckerberg said.
Koum's departure in May followed the exit of his WhatsApp co-founder
That led to a reshuffling of Facebook's executive ranks, increasing
Zuckerberg's ability to influence day-to-day operations. Zuckerberg ally
Chris Cox, who leads product development for Facebook's main app, gained
oversight of WhatsApp and Instagram, which had been given independence
when Facebook bought them.
Adam Mosseri, who had overseen Facebook's news feed and spent a decade
working closely with Zuckerberg, became Instagram's head of product.
Instagram and Facebook have operated independently and the two services
barely mention each other. But as regulators have pushed Facebook to
improve information safeguards for individual privacy, to combat
addiction to social media, and to stop misinformation or fake news,
Zuckerberg and other leaders have been under more pressure to monitor
units beyond the core social network.
[to top of second column]
Instagram founders Mike Krieger (L) and Kevin Systrom attend the
16th annual Webby Awards in New York May, 21 2012. REUTERS/Stephen
ACQUISITION DONE RIGHT
Systrom and Krieger notified the photo-sharing app's leadership team and
Facebook on Monday about their decision to leave, Instagram said. Their
departure would be soon, it said. The New York Times first reported the move.
Systrom and Krieger met through Stanford University and worked separately in
Silicon Valley before forming Instagram in 2010.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion. The photo-sharing app has over
1 billion active monthly users and has grown by adding features such as
messaging and short videos. In 2016, it added the ability to post slideshows
that disappear in 24 hours, mimicking the "stories" feature of Snap Inc's
The photo app's global revenue this year is likely to exceed $8 billion, showed
data from advertising consultancy EMarketer.
Increased advertising on Instagram has seen the average price-per-ad across
Facebook's apps decline this year after a year of upswing. A new privacy law in
Europe also has affected prices.
Instagram had been hailed in Silicon Valley as a flashy acquisition done right,
with the team kept relatively small and Systrom having the freedom to add
features such as peer-to-peer messaging, video uploads and advertising.
"I see Mark [Zuckerberg] practice a tremendous amount of restraint in giving us
the freedom to run, but the reason why I think he gives us the freedom to run is
because when we run, it typically works," Systrom told Recode last June.
The app's latest product, IGTV, has been slow to gain traction. Offered through
Instagram and as a standalone app, IGTV serves up longer-length video content,
mostly from popular Instagram users.
Video content has been a major emphasis for Facebook as it seeks to satisfy
advertisers' desire to stream more commercials online.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave and Subrat Patnaik; Additional reporting by Bhargav
Acharya; Writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and
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