Instagram cofounders reportedly leaving Facebook

Instagram's Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger will apparently leave in a matter of weeks

Kevin Systrom, chief executive and Mike Krieger, chief technical officer, plan to leave the company in the next few weeks and take time off "to explore our curiosity and creativity again".

"We're planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity and creativity again", Systrom wrote.

Exactly when Systrom and Krieger plan to put in their last days at Instagram remains unclear, and Facebook has yet to name their replacements.

Instagram has largely escaped Facebook's high profile problems with privacy, foreign election interference and fake news and has been able to maintain a younger user base than its parent company.

Even before we got to this point, Instagram was already becoming a vastly more crucial piece of the Facebook portfolio of companies and services.

This is astonishing, given when Facebook bought Instagram, it only had 16 employees and its founders, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, hadn't worked out how to make money from the service. Concerns over Facebook's business sparked the biggest one-day wipeout in USA stock market history in July. "I wish them all the best and I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next", Zuckerberg said.

WhatsApp creator Jan Koum left the company in April following alleged clashes with Facebook management over the handling of personal data, while Oculus chief Palmer Luckey resigned after reportedly funding Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the newspaper says. Facebook had acquired Instagram for $715 billion back in 2012. Facebook's stock has taken a dramatic plunge in the wake of the scandal with Cambridge Analytica, which used an online quiz to harvest and collate Facebook users' information online. But Facebook is also keen to increase engagement with the core social network, which has seen growth plateau and certain subsets of users become increasingly disenfranchised.

This year Instagram topped more than 1 billion monthly active users, after adding hundreds of millions of users in roughly the past 18 months. Instagram has since been valued at 100 times that $1 billion acquisition price by Bloomberg Intelligence, a sizable return on investment on paper. Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is still a drag on technology stocks, which overall have propelled the US stock market to record highs. Similar reports followed the resignations of WhatsApp's founders.

Instagram, meanwhile, has remained a bright spot for the company.