Kevin Systrom, the chief executive officer, and Mike Krieger, chief technical officer, have announced they will step down from Instagram in the next few weeks - six years after it was bought by Facebook.
Without the founders around, Instagram is likely to become more tightly integrated with Facebook, making it more of a product division within the larger company than a separate app, the people said.
Instagram founders Mike Krieger, left, and Kevin Systrom attend the 16th annual Webby Awards in NY in 2012.
While Facebook doesn't release separate financial information for the firm, Instagram broke through the 1 billion monthly active user barrier in June, and eMarketer estimated it would generate 70 per cent revenue this year, about $US5.48 billion.
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $US1 billion.
The co-founders of Instagram are stepping away.
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Systrom and Krieger notified the photo-sharing app's leadership team and Facebook on Monday about their decision to leave, Instagram said.
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".
Facebook's stock hasn't recovered from the hit, either.
Instagram has largely escaped Facebook's high-profile problems over user privacy, foreign election interference and fake news, even though it is not immune to any of these things.
In the most recent call, Zuckerberg explained that Instagram grew twice as fast being part of Facebook as it could have on its own, a statement that many Instagram insiders felt was unnecessary and unprovable. Earlier this year, Adam Mosseri, who formerly ran Facebook's news feed, was brought to Instagram to be head of product.
Their departures will be problematic for Facebook, and follow closely behind the resignation of Jan Koum WhatsApp's chief executive officer, who quit over adverts on the service.
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