Systrom and Krieger, after recent exits by other entrepreneurs whose companies were bought by Facebook, including WhatsApp and Oculus. Concerns over Facebook's business sparked the biggest one-day wipeout in US stock market history in July.
"We're planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again", Systrom, Instagram's CEO, said in a statement. "I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it". Zuckerberg simply wished them all the best for the future and is "looking forward to seeing what they build next". The report states that they've already resigned and they plan to leave the company in the upcoming weeks.
That led to a reshuffling of Facebook's executive ranks, increasing Zuckerberg's ability to influence day-to-day operations.
The two co-founders did not provide a reason for their sudden departure from the company, although tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are widely considered to be behind the move. And when you consider Stories, GIFs, stickers and tons more recently added features, it's clear that Instagram is still, well, fun.
But the blow to Facebook is far more than optics.
Shares of Facebook Inc fell more than 2% in early trading on Tuesday after the two founders of photo-sharing app Instagram left the social networking giant under unexplained circumstances. Their departure would be soon, it said. The company also seems to have been initially caught off guard by the news of the Instagram founders' departure, first reported by The New York Times on Monday night.
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Founded in 2010 by Systrom and Krieger, who met at Stanford University, in California, Instagram rapidly gained popularity as an iPhone-only photo-sharing service with a focus on square images tweaked with various colour filters.
While making features available on both platforms expands the number of customers advertisers can reach, it also raises the question of "whether or not these options provide unique, differentiated opportunities for advertisers", said James Douglas, head of media for Reprise, a digital ad agency owned by Interpublic Group.
Instagram accounted for around 9% of all Facebook ad revenue in 2017: According to eMarketer, Instagram pulled in $3.64 billion of Facebook's $40.1 billion global ad revenue.
These days, Instagram is Facebook's most prized possession, though the ouroboros of Instagram and Facebook is hard to parse.