Bloomberg News reported late on Monday that the departure of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger was the result of tensions with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of Facebook's fastest-growing revenue generator.
Meanwhile, Facebook user growth is slowing: The platform added 22 million daily active users globally during the most recent quarter, compared to 41 million during the same period previous year.
Systrom and Krieger, who remained at the helm of the photo-sharing app after Facebook acquired the brand for $1 billion in 2012, did not provide a specific reason for their departure.
Zuckerberg said in his own statement: "Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents". And when you consider Stories, GIFs, stickers and tons more recently added features, it's clear that Instagram is still, well, fun.
As regulators have pushed Facebook to tackle privacy, social media addiction and fake news, Zuckerberg has come under more pressure to monitor units beyond the core social network.
"One of the key hallmarks of Instagram has been its independence and uniqueness from Facebook". Back then, it was used by around 30 million people. Systrom and Krieger are leaving the company they founded in 2010 at a time when the app is experiencing strong growth - both on the user and the advertiser side. Its rapid growth and user engagement caught the eye of Facebook, which was on the lookout for any services that might threaten its dominance of the social network space.
That led to a reshuffling of Facebook's executive ranks, increasing Zuckerberg's ability to influence day-to-day operations.More news: Tiger Woods wins PGA Tour title for first time since 2013
As such, he thinks Facebook would be wise to reassure users that what they love about Instagram isn't going to change - that they are not going to be forced to integrate with Facebook. "We're now ready for our next chapter", Systrom said in a statement posted on Instagram's blog.
Facebook bought the photo-sharing app for $1 billion in 2012.
A similar conflict was also seen regarding pushing Facebook notifications inside Instagram and a Facebook button inside Instagram's settings.
Facebook also needs Instagram financially.
Facebook's Year From Hell just got worse and weirder.
It comes after months of chaos and scandals for Facebook.
Their departure is expected in the "coming weeks", Business Insider reported.