A new set of cans of worms have opened up for Facebook with the resignation of Instagram Co-Founders- Kevin Systrom & CTO Mike Krieger. This shocking and sudden news comes at a torrid time for Facebook which is already suffering implications of its scandalous last two years with issues ranging from Leakage of data of 87 million users to Data mining company, Cambridge Analytica to regulatory Intervention in Brussels and Washington.
And Facebook Knows Nothing About it…?
This resignation brings the end of a long internal rift in Facebook. Inc. The most striking thing was that neither the Spokesperson of Facebook nor Instagram knew anything on the topic except the brief column published in the NY Times. Zuckerberg didn’t post anything regarding this on his profile. He just made a statement which was rather unusual considering a high profile farewell.
What Kevin Systrom & CTO Mike Krieger had to say…
The founders, who have now resigned, took a dig on Facebook in a subtle way on their Instagram profile- “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. 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.”
How Kevin and Mike Co-Founded Instagram
Kevin and Mike were former Stanford classmates who had originally built a social media app Burbn. It was not a very successful app. So, the founders decided to revamp the app and they chopped out all features from it except photo sharing, filters, like an comment. The revamped app was renamed as Instagram and was launched on October 12, 2010. The app’s user base skyrocketed and perhaps became the most successful mobile app available at that time. To negate a rising threat, Facebook acquired it in a $715 million deal just a month before its own IPO. As a part of the deal, the original team was supposed to stay and work in full autonomy
This is How Instagram Saved Facebook
Instagram, the Photo sharing Application acted as a knight in a shining armor who saved them from time to time. When people started to leave Facebook due to the data leak they would switch to Instagram. Analysts believed that Instagram would compensate the loss in the Consumer Base. According to a survey by Verge, 60% people didn’t know that Facebook actually owned Instagram. Over the years, Instagram has successfully negated the rising threat of Snapchat. Instagram defeated Snapchat in its own game by copying the Story feature and focusing on developing markets. Today almost 1.5 times users of Snapchat use Insta stories. (Source – TechCrunch). It is expected to do so in the future as revenue and users of Facebook are expected to decline in the Future mainly due to user fatigue.
The War Between Zukerburg and Kevin and Mike
Industry Experts believe that it was long due and such a fallout was strategically planned by Mark Zuckerberg. Time and again there were reports of growing Rift between the two powerhouses – Mark Zuckerberg on one side and the founding Pair on the other. Zuckerberg wanted to integrate Instagram into its “family of apps” and create a cross-platform content sharing platform. Facebook wanted more say in Instagram’s advertisement policies. Systrom and Krieger were vehemently against this as they wanted the promised autonomy and they believed that such an integration would stop the growth of its staff and thus alter the work Culture.
With Facebook’s Forecasted revenues expected to take a hit, Mark Zuckerberg turned his attention towards Instagram. The First Signs of tensions were noticed when Instagram’s treasured VP of Product, Kevin Weil was transferred to Facebook’s new block-chain team and was replaced by former VP of Facebook’s News Feed- Adam Mosseri, a Staunch Fb loyalist, and member of Zuckerberg’s inner circle.
In a bid to turn it just another product division inside Facebook rather than a separate entity, its core team was either being removed or transferred. Earlier this year, Instagram’s longtime serving director of public policy, Nicole Jackson Colaco departed. Insta’s Camera Product lead, Keith Peiris too followed the suite and left for Glossier.
Around two weeks ago, Instagram’s COO Marane Levine who was known for her dynamism and unifying personality was also transferred to lead Partnerships at Facebooks. All the major positions were filled by Fb loyalists.
Evidence of War
A hard evidence of the fight can be seen is that a shortcut to Instagram in Facebook’s bookmark menu has magically disappeared after a year of its launch. Similarly, some users also noticed a new feature which sent them Facebook notifications on their Instagram account.
Even in the Earnings Call this year, Zuckerberg focused on Instagram more than ever and even went to the great length of saying, “It grew more than twice as quickly as it would have on its own“- A statement that didn’t go down well with the core team.
Tech gurus believe that removing the founders is the final piece of Zuckerberg’s majestic vision. The plan had been in works for years. Over the years, Facebook acquired four companies- Instagram, Messenger, Oculus and WhatsApp. This departure marks the end of the founders of other apps in Facebook. Last year, Brian Acton, founder of WhatsApp resigned under grim conditions. He even tweeted in support of #DeleteFacebook citing Facebook privacy and monetization aspect the chief reasons behind his decision. A similar fate occurred for the founder of Oculus too. As of now, no founder is there on Facebook to challenge Mark’s views.
The future can either be in the shade of black or white. There is nothing between. For the last 2 years, it has been Instagram as a separate entity that has made sure that the damage caused by recurring scandals is minimized. Merging all the applications might lead to an all-out success or losing out on a royal cushion leading to a steep downside risk.