Instagram co-founders Systrom and Krieger leaving firm

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

Systrom and Krieger did not give a reason for their departure, according to people familiar, but said they planned to take time off after leaving Instagram.

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.

Facebook bought Instagramin 2012 for roughly $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock.

Mr Systrom, who heads the popular photo-sharing app launched in 2010, said they were taking some time off to "explore our curiosity and creativity".

The departure of Instagram co-founders comes months after the exit of Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, another Facebook unit.

Zuckerberg said that he was looking forward to seeing what the pair did next adding that he had learned a lot from working with them.

A spokeswoman for Facebook deferred comment to Instagram. Instagram, which now has more than one billion users, is a key driver of revenue for Facebook.

Increased advertising on Instagram has seen the average price-per-ad across Facebook's apps decline this year after a year of upswing.

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.

Instagram had been hailed in Silicon Valley as a flashy acquisition done right, with the team kept relatively small and Systrom having the freedom to add features such as peer-to-peer messaging, video uploads and advertising.

The app's latest product, IGTV, has been slow to gain traction.

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