UPDATED with a statement from CEO Kevin Systrom:  Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger tonight confirmed they are stepping down from the Facebook-owned company.

Mike Krieger
Krieger
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Chief Executive Systrom and Chief Technical Officer Krieger notified Instagram’s leadership team and corporate parent Facebook of their intentions to leave, the New York Times reported first. The reason for their departure is unclear.

“Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team,” said Systrom in a statement tonight. “We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.”

Systrom said he and his co-founder plan to taking time off to “explore our curiosity and creativity again.” They plan to step back, look for their inspiration and see what fits with “what the world needs.”

The photo-sharing app they founded in 2010 has become one of the most successful social media platforms in the world, and a resounding success for Facebook at a time of slowing growth. Since Facebook acquiring Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, it has grown exponentially, passing 1 billion users in June.

Instagram became a crucial part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s strategy to hold on to young users, and compete with the insurgent social network, Snapchat.

“Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “I’ve learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I’m looking forward to seeing what they build next.”

Now, it will enter its next chapter without the passionate founders who’ve guided its growth.

“We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion,” said Systrom. “We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.”

Earlier this year, Jan Koum, the founder of another Facebook acquisition, the messaging app WhatsApp, left the company. He reportedly was concerned about the amount of data the social network was collecting about people.

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@mikeyk and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people on the team to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’ve loved learning to scale a company and nurture an enormous global community. And we couldn’t have done it without our amazing Instagram team, and the support of @zuck, @sherylsandberg, @schrep, and @chriscox at Facebook – we’ve learned so much from all of you. Now, we’re ready for our next chapter. 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. We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to just two users in a billion. Thank you for being part of Instagram’s community. It’s been (and will continue to be) an honor 🙌🏻

A post shared by Kevin Systrom (@kevin) on