Facebook promised Instagram autonomy, but reduced it over time leading to today’s bombshell revelation. Eight years after launching Instagram and six years after selling it to Facebook, Instagram co-founders CEO Kevin Systrom and CTO Mike Krieger are leaving the company, according to The New York Times. The founders apparently did not give a reason for their departure when they informed the company today that they’re resigning and that they’ll depart in the next few weeks.
But according to TechCrunch’s sources, tension had mounted this year between Instagram and Facebook’s leadership regarding Instagram’s autonomy. Facebook had agreed to let it run independently as part of the acquisition deal. But in May, Instagram’s beloved VP of Product Kevin Weil moved to Facebook’s new blockchain team and was replaced by former VP of Facebook News Feed Adam Mosseri — a member of Zuckerberg’s inner circle.
“Adam is a very strong-willed individual” said a source, and “Chris [Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer] and Kevin never really got along.” Between the two, they could pressure Instagram to do more for Facebook — which was important given the impact of scandals and dwindling teen usage on Facebook’s brand. “When Chris started taking initiative and with Adam as more of the old-school in-crowd of Facebook, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. I saw that this guy [Systrom] is gonna get squeezed.”
This makes me so so so sad. Kevin Systrom is one of my tech idols. He was a marketer at Google who had a cool idea, taught himself programming so he could build a prototype, and kept working on it until it gained traction. He's one of my favorite product guys who built my favorite social media community.
In a time when Facebook & Twitter have become nothing more than viral, political, and cyberbullying shit-shows, Instagram has been the one place for keeping tabs on friends and spreading happiness.
I'm gonna miss it.