Facebook's Instagram promotes from within for its new leader

Adam Mosseri, who was vice president of product at Instagram, gets the top job after the sudden departure of the social network's co-founders.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
3 min read
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Instagram's  co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger said last week that they're leaving the photo sharing service, six years after it was bought by Facebook . On Monday, they named their successor.

Adam Mosseri, who was head of product for Instagram and before that the head of Facebook's news feed feature, has been named Instagram's new chief. But that wasn't all the co-founders said. As part of the announcement, the pair responded to concerns that have swept through the tech industry  that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  is increasingly "meddling" with the popular app, according to a report from Recode.

In their announcement, they said Mosseri was the most likely to keep a steady hand on the social network, which now counts more than a billion people who log in at least once a month. 

"Since we announced our departure, many people have asked us what we hope for the future of Instagram," the pair said in a blog post Monday. "To us, the most important thing is keeping our community -- all of you -- front and center in all that Instagram does. We believe that Adam will hold true to these values and that Instagram will continue to thrive."

Mosseri tweeted that he's "humbled and excited" by the new role.

The leadership changes come at a time when Facebook is under increased scrutiny for everything from security issues to its handling of Russian interference to the spread of false news. Just last week, the company said it'd suffered one of its biggest hacks ever, potentially affecting 50 million accounts.

For Instagram in particular, these changes come at a time when Facebook is increasingly looking to the photo sharing service, considered a social network in its own right, as an avenue of growth. 

After buying Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, Facebook has been able to turn it into one of the most trafficked websites in the world. 

It's particularly popular among teens, a recent Pew survey found, ranking it second behind YouTube among the top sites teens say they use. By comparison, roughly half of teens say they use Facebook, lower than that of YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat. That's a far cry from four years ago, when 71 percent of teens reported being Facebook users. 

"This shift in teens' social media use is just one example of how the technology landscape for young people has evolved," Pew said when the survey came out in May.

Part of what's helped Instagram's popularity is how successfully it's borrowed ideas from its competitor Snapchat. One of the most popular features now on Instagram and Facebook is called "stories," where people post photos and videos that disappear within a day

That feature encourages people to share what's happening throughout the day, rather than wait for a perfectly framed and manicured shot, analysts have said. In November, the social networking giant counted 300 million people using its "stories" feature each day.

First published Oct. 1, 11:05 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:36 a.m. PT: Adds additional context.

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