When it launched seven years ago in October 2010, Instagram was just one of a number of social networking services at the time that focused on sharing images and video. It stood out among them for becoming popular fast. That perhaps is the reason it was acquired by Facebook in 2012, and its image-sharing integrated into the larger social network’s online platform. For the following years the service founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger got along well enough with their parent company, but increasing conflict with Mark Zuckerberg over Instagram’s direction have led the two to step down Monday.
Vox has it that Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have announced their departure from the company. According to Systrom’s post on the Instagram blog, that was so the two of them could move to their next chapter and “explore curiosity and creativity” once more. But those who have been following inside developments in the running of Instagram can detect a veiled protest by the platform’s creators against the increasing overstep by Facebook, or rather Mark Zuckerberg, over their operations. The Social Network did acquire Instagram under the promise that it could keep operating somewhat independently, but lately that assurance has been ringing hollow.
The trigger for Facebook reversing its original hands-off treatment of Instagram probably lies on the fact that the image-sharing platform, ostensibly merely an add-on to the FB experience, has been performing well even as the main social media network began to suffer from the decline of original user posts and being associated with the 2016 Presidential Election brouhaha. Since then, Facebook began implementing measures like cross-posting Instagram Stories, introducing a “hamburger menu” with Facebook link, leaking FB notifications to Instagram, and finally removing the Instagram attributions to photos when posted on Facebook. All these things gradually soured working relations between the Systrom-Krieger tandem and Zuckerberg.
One possible consequence of the original founders jumping ship from Instagram is the fear that Facebook will simply dispense with any façade of independent operation and relegate the platform’s team into mere another division in the larger FB whole. That would be an ignoble end to the service. And damage control within the companies have been striving to color Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom’s departure in a cordial light akin to an amicable parting of ways. Not everyone is convinced however. Facebook shares at the NYSE 2.2 percent ($161.70) by Tuesday, with Snapchat rising by 2 percent due to the possibility that it could probably exploit the troubles with Instagram.
Facebook has already been through this spot earlier this year, when the co-founders of another acquisition, WhatsApp, also left in protest over the insistence of putting advertising on their platform.
Image courtesy of BBC