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Instagram Founders Leaving Facebook After Internal Clashing

Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have resigned from their leadership roles and are leaving Facebook. While Instagram has continued its worldwide domination under Facebook ownership, the co-founders reportedly clashed with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other leaders over the direction of the photo-sharing app.

“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” Systrom writes in an announcement. “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 leaving Instagram 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.”

While Systrom writes that they “remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years,” there are widespread reports that internal clashing is what led to their decisions to depart.

“Lately, they were frustrated with an uptick in day-to-day involvement by Zuckerberg, who has become more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook’s future,” Bloomberg writes.

“Facebook officials, including Mr. Zuckerberg, clashed with the co-founders over growth tactics and how to more rapidly expand the photo-sharing app’s user base,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Systrom and Krieger were said to have pushed hard for Instagram to maintain its independence from Instagram — something that was agreed upon in the original acquisition — so it’s likely that Facebook and Instagram will see much closer integrations now that the co-founders no longer have a say in the app’s direction.

Instagram launched back in October 2010 and grew to 30 million users with a team of just 13 employees before it was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 in a deal worth $1 billion in cash and stock at the time (Facebook’s stock later took a dip and reduced the deal’s value to $715 million). In the 6 years since, Instagram has grown to have over 1 billion users and is now a huge slice (estimated at $100 billion) of Facebook’s total market cap ($477 billion).

Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by Instagram

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