SAN FRANCISCO — Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of the photo-sharing app Instagram, have resigned and plan to leave the company in the coming weeks, adding to the challenges facing Instagram’s parent company, Facebook.
Mr. Systrom, Instagram’s chief executive, and Mr. Krieger, the chief technical officer, notified Instagram’s leadership team and Facebook on Monday of their decision to leave, said people with direct knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Mr. Systrom and Mr. Krieger did not give a reason for stepping down, according to the people, but said they planned to take time off after leaving Instagram. Mr. Systrom, 34, and Mr. Krieger, 32, have known each other since 2010, when they met and transformed a software project built by Mr. Systrom into what eventually became Instagram, which now has more than one billion users.
In a statement late Monday, Mr. Systrom said he and Mr. Krieger were “ready for our next chapter,” and hinted that they would create something new.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Mr. Systrom said. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, praised the Instagram founders in a statement and said that he wished them “all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next.”
The departures raise questions about Instagram’s future at a time when Facebook faces its most sustained set of crises in its 14-year history. For much of the past two years, critics have railed against Facebook for being careless with user data and for not preventing foreign interference across its network of more than two billion people. The issues have started taking a toll on Facebook’s business, with the company saying in July that growth in digital advertising sales and in the number of its users had slowed down.
Against those problems, Instagram has been one of the jewels of Facebook. The social network acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, when the photo-sharing site was used by around 30 million people. Since then, Instagram’s reach has ballooned and it has widely been seen as one of Facebook’s most successful acquisitions.
Facebook has lost other founders of businesses it has acquired. In April, Jan Koum, a Facebook board member and a founder of WhatsApp, the messaging app that the social network purchased in 2014, said he was leaving. Mr. Koum had grown increasingly concerned about Facebook’s position on user data in recent years, people with knowledge of the situation said at the time.