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Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger set to leave

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have revealed plans to leave the platform they founded in 2010. In a joint statement, Systrom and Krieger said they were “ready for [their] 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,” they said.

Multiple media reports attributed the sudden exit to mounting tensions between the founders and leaders at Facebook. According to Bloomberg sources, this included disagreements with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the photo sharing platform.

BBC and TechCrunch also reported that there was also pressure for both Instagram and Facebook apps to become more integrated, while Systrom sought to maintain Instagram’s independence.

“We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next,” Systrom added.

Under Systrom and Krieger’s leadership, Instagram had grown to one billion users, following the launch of Instagram Stories and IGTV, the platform’s long form content offering. The initiative expanded its offering from just hosting bite sized content, to watching long-form vertical video from Instagram creators.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, saw its co-founder Jan Koum leaving the company, saying that it was “time for [him] to move on”. The move followed months after WhatsApp’s other co-founder Brian Acton leaving, and came four years after Facebook acquired rights over WhatsApp in a US$19 billion deal. At the time of acquisition, it was Facebook’s biggest deal to date.

According to The Washington Post at the time, Koum’s move followed a clash  with Facebook, over the service’s strategy and “as Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption”. However, protection of user data has always been the core foundation of WhatsApp – something Facebook promised to preserve when they bought over the social network.

Koum’s move also came in the midst of Facebook’s F8 summit where Facebook VP of messaging products David Marcus revealed to CNBC that there were plans to open WhatsApp up more to advertisers. This includes the integration of a new application programming interface (API) to send and receive messages with people on the WhatsApp platform, he added.

Meanwhile, Acton’s reasons on leaving echoed that of Koum, Systrom and Krieger, who all said they were embarking on new chapters of their lives. For Acton, this includes starting a non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications.

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