People familiar with the situation told Bloomberg and TechCrunch that Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger handed in their resignations after growing exhausted with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's increased involvement in the photo-sharing app's day-to-day operations.
Unconfirmed rumours suggested that the Instagram founders were getting exhausted of working with Mark Zuckerberg, who allegedly is taking more of an involvement in running the popular picture app as users desert Facebook.
Systrom wrote in a blog post on Monday that he and Krieger planned to take time off and explore "our curiosity and creativity again".
Systrom and Krieger might be gone, but Facebook can't afford to let the golden egg crack. This internal move was described by a source as one of many created to pressure Instagram to do more for Facebook.
It's rumoured from TechCrunch that the pair were unhappy with their control over Instagram as their independence from Facebook was becoming increasingly weakened. Facebook is under fire for its handling of users' data and its failure to halt the spread of misinformation, most notably during the USA presidential election in 2016. They clearly want to build something new, but it "requires that we step back".
The reason behind Systrom's and Krieger's departure is unclear.
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"Instagram is the new Facebook, much more than it's the original Instagram", said a tweet from Benedict Evans, a venture investor with Andreessen Horowitz who blogs on the tech sector. And while Facebook doesn't break out revenue for Instagram, eMarketer reckons it will bring in $8 billion in ad sales this year, more than four times the haul in 2016. Some inside Instagram feel as though Facebook is failing to promote Instagram's growth or even actively hindering it, Recode's sources said.
It comes months after the exit of Jan Koum, co-founder of messaging app WhatsApp, another big Facebook service, and at time when Facebook's core platform is under fire for how it safeguards customer data and the spread of false information.
"I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it".
Mr Systrom, the chief executive of the app, said they were departing to "explore our curiosity and creativity". A survey from the tech site The Verge found that 60 percent of respondents were unaware of Instagram's parent.
The co-founders of Instagram have resigned from the photo-sharing app, which is owned by Facebook. He's now head of product, and has a CV that some of Instagram's loyal users might find ominous - he was formerly in charge of Facebook's Newsfeed.
The Instagram exodus follows resignations from another prominent Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp. Offered through Instagram and as a standalone app, IGTV serves up longer-length video content, mostly from popular Instagram users. Apple and Amazon are two of the most heavily weighted stocks in the United States market.