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Instagram’s founding duo, Systrom and Krieger, are stepping down from the company they launched in 2010. It usually isn’t big news when founders leave after an acquisition, but Instagram had always been an exception, with this founding duo remaining up until now after Facebook acquired them for $1 billion back in April 2012.

Facebook and Instagram in black
© Rose Carson / Shutterstock.com

Systrom seemed to have so much planned on his busy schedule, and due to the abruptness of his departure, which broke late Monday night, rumours have arisen that there may have been some sort of falling out with upper management at Facebook, according to an article by Mashable.

Instagram had also just opened up a new office in San Francisco – Systrom’s desire to shorten his commute, at least in part, playing a role in this decision (Wall Street Journal). He was also scheduled to give a keynote speech at next year’s South by Southwest Festival in Austin, which isn’t really a small deal.

Zuckerberg’s Short Statement Antithesis To The Norm

Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, also usually writes long-winded send-off statements for high-ranking execs on their way out. The unusually short send-off statement for Systrom and Krieger weren’t even published on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, or (interestingly), on his Instagram account.

It really isn’t clear why Systrom and Krieger decided to leave, but multiple reports stated that they had been increasingly uncomfortable with Facebook executives’ involvement in Instagram in their efforts to bring the two services closer together. It can be pointed out that Facebook recently changed how Instagram photos upload to Facebook profiles, displaying no reference to Instagram whatsoever.

What’s Next For Instagram?

It’s hard to say what all this means for Instagram as a service, but there will probably be many more changes to come – the service will be under new leadership for the first time ever.

No statements have been made as to who will be heading up Instagram in the top executive seat, but most signs point to the newly installed Product VP, Adam Mosseri. Formerly in charge of Facebook’s News Feed, he has become a more public face for the social network. It also seems that Zuckerberg trusts him fully.

What IS Likely

The most likely thing for Instagram is that Facebook will tie-in more and more, bridging every possible gap between the two services. There aren’t any high level execs left to push back against Zuckerberg and company at board meetings anymore.

Facebook has relied more and more heavily on Instagram to bolster profits in the wake of Cambridge Analytica. As things have gotten worse for Facebook, they’ve gotten better for Instagram, with the service showing relatively scandal-free growth. Facebook needs its successful acquisition more than ever before.