The departure of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger adds to the woes of parent firm Facebook as it tries to repair its image hurt by privacy scandals and curb manipulation and misinformation.
In this file photo taken on December 12, 2013 Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom addresses a press conference in New York. (AFP)
Instagram, created as a photo-sharing app and purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the California tech giant's "family" of applications and services, and is especially popular with the younger consumers.
With more than a billion users as of June, Instagram has also been a growing source of revenue, likely to bring in more than $10 billion from advertising by 2019, according to the research firm eMarketer.
Systrom and Krieger gave no reason for their departure, but multiple reports suggested they were growing frictions between the founders and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
The news site TechCrunch said Systrom and Krieger believed Facebook was not living up to its pledge of allowing autonomy at Instagram when the app was acquired in 2012.
"We're planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again," Systrom said in a statement late Monday.
He later tweeted, "The @instagram journey is one I won't forget. It started by building simple products that solved universal problems. Now eight years we look back and are proud and grateful to have been part of that journey."
Zuckerberg said in his own statement: "Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents. I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it."