Instagram co-founders step down amid autonomy clash rumours

In an unexpected move, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned from the photo-sharing app – which is owned by Facebook – on Monday.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for about $1-billion when the team was only made up of 13 employees and 30-million registered users.

The app has since grown from 30 million users in 2012 to over 1-billion in 2018, proving to be one of Facebook’s most lucrative acquisitions.

Systrom, who was Instagram’s chief executive officer, and Krieger, who held the position of chief technical officer, did not give reasons for stepping down but there is speculation that the duo left because of growing tensions between them and Facebook Inc chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

According to Bloomberg, the pair had succeeded in running Instagram as a mostly independent entity while using Facebook’s infrastructure to grow but Zuckerberg is reported to have recently upped his involvement in the operations of the photo-sharing app, which Systrom and Krieger were against.

In a blog post, Systrom expressed his gratitude to Facebook and Instagram teams, saying: “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 1-billion.”

Systrom added that he and Krieger would be taking time off to “explore our curiosity and creativity again” and reflecting on how “building new things” requires stepping back and understanding “what inspires” them.

In a statement, Zuckerberg described Systrom and Krieger as “extraordinary product leaders” saying he had “learned a lot working with them for the past six years” and enjoyed the experience.

“I wish them all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has parted ways with several executives of companies which it has acquired over the past year or so.

In November 2017, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton left Facebook over alleged disagreements over the messaging app’s business model.

Acton’s partner Jan Koum followed suit in April 2018 over clashes related to user data privacy and encryption with Facebook management.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22-billion and has become one of the world’s leading messenger apps.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…