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Instagram on Monday said co-founders
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have resigned as chief executive
officer and chief technical officer of the photo-sharing app
owned by Facebook Inc, with the pair giving scant
explanation.

The departures at Facebook’s fastest-growing revenue
generator come just months after the exit of Jan Koum,
co-founder of Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, leaving the
social network without the developers behind two of its biggest
services.

They also come at a time when Facebook’s core platform is
under fire for how it safeguards customer data, and while it
defends against political efforts to spread false information.

Systrom wrote in a blog post on Monday that he and Krieger
planned to take time off and explore “our curiosity and
creativity again”.

Their announcement came after increasingly frequent clashes
with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg over the direction
of Instagram, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement, Zuckerberg described the two as
“extraordinary product leaders”.

“I’ve learned a lot working with them for the past six years
and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I’m
looking forward to seeing what they build next,” Zuckerberg
said.

Koum’s departure in May led to a reshuffling of Facebook’s
executive ranks. Zuckerberg ally Chris Cox, who leads product
development for Facebook’s main app, gained oversight of
WhatsApp and Instagram, which had been given independence when
Facebook bought them.

Adam Mosseri, who had overseen Facebook’s news feed and
spent a decade working closely with Zuckerberg, became
Instagram
‘s head of product.

Systrom and Krieger notified the photo-sharing app’s
leadership team and Facebook on Monday about their decision to
leave, Instagram said. Their departure would be soon, it said.
The New York Times first reported the move.

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Systrom and Krieger met through Stanford University and
worked separately in Silicon Valley before forming Instagram in
2010.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion. The
photo-sharing app has over 1 billion active monthly users and
has grown by adding features such as messaging and short videos.
In 2016, it added the ability to post slideshows that disappear
in 24 hours, mimicking the “stories” feature of Snap Inc’s
Snapchat.

The photo app’s global revenue this year is likely to exceed
$8 billion, showed data from advertising consults EMarketer.

Increased advertising on Instagram has seen the average
price-per-ad across Facebook’s apps decline this year after a
year of upswing.

A new privacy law in Europe also has affected
prices.

Instagram had been hailed in Silicon Valley as a flashy
acquisition done right, with the team kept relatively small and
Systrom having the freedom to add features such as peer-to-peer
messaging, video uploads and advertising.

“I see Mark practice a tremendous amount of
restraint in giving us the freedom to run, but the reason why I
think he gives us the freedom to run is because when we run, it
typically works,” Systrom told Recode last June.

The app’s latest product, IGTV, has been slow to gain
traction. Offered through Instagram and as a standalone app,
IGTV serves up longer-length video content, mostly from popular
Instagram
users.

Video content has been a major emphasis for Facebook as it
seeks to satisfy advertisers’ desire to stream more commercials
online.

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