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Why The Instagram Founders Are Leaving Facebook

It was recently announced, in a public statement, that the Instagram founders are leaving Facebook.


Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the company, and sources are pointing to tension that has been mounting for quite some time. This tension, it seems, has stemmed from Facebook’s inability to let Instagram function autonomously – with more and more pressure being placed on the Instagram team to increase revenue being the most likely cause for interference.


That being said, we don’t know with certainty why the founders are leaving, but their goodbye letter reveals some clues.



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@kevin and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people on the team to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’ve loved learning to scale a company and nurture an enormous global community. And we couldn’t have done it without our amazing Instagram team, and the support of @zuck, @sherylsandberg, @schrep, and @chriscox at Facebook—we’ve learned so much from all of you. Now, we’re ready for our next chapter. We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. 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. We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to just two users in a billion. Thank you for being part of Instagram’s community—it’s been, and will continue to be, an honor.

A post shared by Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) on

One line stands out in their statement. “We’re taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again.”  That statement has many thinking that the departure of Systrom and Krieger does ultimately boil down to a lack of independence.


To hear more thoughts from the Cave team about this major shakeup at Facebook, listen to our latest episode of Mind Your Marketing. We discuss this story in depth at the beginning of the episode.


Listen here: