SAN FRANCISCO, (AFP) -- Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the smartphone photo-sharing service bought by Facebook six years ago for a billion dollars, the New York Times reported late Monday citing unnamed sources.
Systrom and Krieger have resigned from their posts as chief executive and chief technology officer respectively, not giving reasons and saying they planned to take time off, according to the Times.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
FILE PHOTO: Instagram founders Mike Krieger (L) and Kevin Systrom attend the 16th annual Webby Awards in New York May, 21 2012. (Yonhap)
Instagram in June announced it passed a billion active users, and unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube.
It became the fourth Facebook platform to eclipse the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.
Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time.
Instagram has been a hit with young internet users, an audience that Facebook is keen to keep in its fold.
The departures come as Facebook grapples with the worst crisis in its history, vilified for not more zealously guarding information users share at the leading online social network.
Many see Facebook as being the main vehicle for spreading false information in recent years, and of being used by nefarious interests out to sway the results of the elections such as the one that put President Donald Trump in the White House.
The Cambridge Analytica public relations disaster, in which Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by the British consultancy firm, came on top of widespread criticism of the social network‘s propensity to spread and accentuate large amounts of completely false information.
Facebook is facing multiple inquiries from US and British regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal, and its boss Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by the European Parliament and the US Congress earlier this year.
WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum earlier this year left Facebook, which bought the smartphone messaging service for $19 billion.
Koum said in a post on his Facebook page that he was taking time off to pursue interests such as collecting air-cooled Porsches, working on cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.
US media reports indicated that a disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data may have also been a factor in Koum’s decision to quit his position as a high-ranking executive and likely leave his seat on the board at the leading online social network.