Facebook's Woes Grow As Instagram Co-Founders Reportedly Bail

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2012

San Francisco: The founders of Instagram are leaving Facebook Inc. after growing tensions with chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the photo-sharing app, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr Systrom and Mr Krieger did not give a reason for their departure, according to the people, but said they planned to take time off after leaving Instagram.

Systrom and Krieger notified the photo-sharing app's leadership team and Facebook on Monday about their decision to leave, Instagram said.

Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1bn, has more than 1 billion active monthly users and has grown by adding features like messaging and short videos.

There's no official word on what caused the Instagram founders to leave, although rumours hint at clashes between the two men and Facebook executives over diminishing independence and demands to direct more users from Instagram to Facebook.

Any significant changes to Instagram could hurt Facebook's bottom line as, unlike its parent company, the network has retained its popularity during the scandals.

"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", the statement said - though several USA media outlets attributed the split to a disagreement with executives at Facebook.

"Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents", Zuckerberg said.

A spokeswoman for Facebook deferred comment to Instagram.

Whatever the cause of the two's departure, it's probably safe to say that this can't be good news for Facebook's management team. Since then, Instagram has surged further in popularity, while Snapchat's growth has been inconsistent.

Systrom, 34, created the app in 2010 with 32-year-old Krieger, now the outgoing "chief technical officer", when they were students at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley. Facebook's stock hit a precipitous decline in July after an earnings report indicated it had grown so big it was struggling to find new users, and the last few months haven't seen a rebound.

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