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Systrom did not say when he and Krieger would leave Facebook, but The New York Times reported earlier on Monday that the duo would leave in the coming weeks.

The news of their departure comes from The New York Times, and is corroborated by a statement from Systrom. It was sold to Facebook for $1 billion a couple of years later, and is closing in on a billion users worldwide - making it the third largest social network on the planet. As Instagram has shown more ads, the average price per ad across Facebook's entire family of apps has declined earlier this year after a year of upswing.

The platform has been a hit with young internet users, an audience that Facebook is keen to keep in its fold. Concerns over Facebook's business sparked the biggest one-day wipeout in U.S. stock market history in July.

Systrom issued a statement on Instagram's blog, saying that he and Krieger were "planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again". "I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next".

Adam Mosseri, who had overseen Facebook's news feed and spent a decade working closely with Zuckerberg, became Instagram's head of product.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum left the company in 2014, the same year Facebook bought the messaging app. The Instagram departures may put further pressure on its stock. Since then, the service has grown to more than 1 billion users and has of course added plenty of advertisements.

The app now boasts a user base of over one billion people.

Any significant changes to Instagram could hurt Facebook's bottom line as, unlike its parent company, the network has retained its popularity during the scandals.

Instagram has largely escaped Facebook's high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign elections interference and fake news, even though it is not immune to any of these things (Facebook recently disclosed it has deleted hundreds of pages on its namesake site as well as Instagram that were linked to global misinformation campaigns meant to disrupt elections).

Video content has been a major emphasis for Facebook as it seeks to satisfy advertisers' desire to stream more commercials online.