Creators Collective

With Its Founders Leaving, What's Next For Instagram?

Let's hope it stays relevant

Earlier this week, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced that they will be stepping down from their respective roles in the company. "We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again," Systrom wrote on Instagram's blog. Despite the obviously abrupt announcement, people were not slow to comment that this will be the end of Instagram as we know it and that the photo-sharing app will never be the same again.

But what does it really mean? What may change once the founders leave and how will it affect our experience as users? Before we try to predict what's gonna happen next with Instagram, let's first look at the intertwined developments since Facebook acquired it. 

At the start of the acquisition, Instagram, for the most part, was an independent, distinctly separate app from Facebook. It grew and developed a community of its own, where OOTDs, food porn and cat photos flourished. Unlike Facebook, it wasn't built for resharing content instead it encouraged users to upload their original snaps on the platform. As a result, it was deemed as more niche, hip and cool. 

However, as of late, Instagram is slowly being integrated into the Facebook app. The most blatant example would be the addition of a "hamburger menu" which features a not so subtle "Open Facebook" option. Before that, there was the addition of the "Upload to Facebook" button that allows your Instagram content to be cross-posted on Facebook. Back then, when you upload via Instagram, Facebook will put a stamp identifying that a certain post is from Instagram. That's not the case anymore, now your Instagram uploads look like they were directly uploaded to Facebook. It's a small yet significant tweak asserting an integration between the two social media apps.

There were hearsays that these changes (and maybe more) irked Systrom and Krieger, but we've yet to know what the final straw that led to their departure was. Was there a proposed development that did not sit well with the app's co-founders? And now that they're out of the picture, what's next for Instagram?

We can never really know for sure what will happen next but given the recent changes, it's not farfetched to assume that Instagram will be more conducive to ads and become more intertwined with Facebook over time. In a few months, we're betting IGTV will be able to roll out in-video overlay ads or skip ads. But if you ask if we think Instagram will still maintain its cool, hip persona, we think it will. It better do or else it will lose the very characteristic that drove its popularity and growth.

At the end of the day, Instagram is still on the fast track and we've yet to see its peak. After all, despite many attempts, there's still no successful replacement for this iconic app. That is until we see what its founders build next.