BELEAGUERED social network Facebook has taken another hit after both founders of its photo-sharing app Instagram announced their resignations and plans to leave the company within weeks.
Creators Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, who developed the popular picture-based network in 2010, notified Facebook’s leadership team of their departures on Monday, according to the New York Times, and confirmed their move today.
The Instagram exodus follows resignations from another prominent Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp. Its remaining co-founder and chief executive, Jan Koum, quit the company in May, saying it was “time to move on”.
Fellow WhatsApp creator Brian Acton departed in November last year with a more pointed message, which he demonstrated by donating $US50 million to a rival messaging app.
Mr Krieger confirmed the new double resignation in a statement today, saying the pair was “grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” but was “ready for our next chapter”.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” he said. “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.”
The pair sold Instagram to Facebook for $US1 billion in 2012.
There’s no official word on what caused the Instagram founders to leave, although rumours hint at clashes between the two men and Facebook executives over diminishing independence and demands to direct more users from Instagram to Facebook.
The company also recently added new ways to shop within the network, and introduced a streaming mobile video service called IGTV.
Facebook has yet to comment on the Instagram departures, but they follow a year of controversy and scandal for the world’s biggest social network, which has been widely criticised for its cavalier use of personal information.
Any significant changes to Instagram could hurt Facebook’s bottom line as, unlike its parent company, the network has retained its popularity during the scandals.
While Facebook doesn’t release separate financial information for the firm, Instagram broke through the 1 billion monthly active user barrier in June, and eMarketer estimated it would generate 70 per cent revenue this year, about $US5.48 billion.