Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the social media firm to "explore our curiosity and creativity".

The image-sharing platform was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock and has more than a billion users.

There have been reports that Systrom and Krieger, who have continued to run Insta from inside Facebook, disagreed with the parent company’s plan to monetise the app.

"We're now ready for our next chapter,” CEO Systrom wrote in a blog post.

"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.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Instagram reflected the duo’s "combined creative talents".

"I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next."

Systrom and CTO Krieger’s original vision was an app that prioritised simplicity above all else. With the integration of adverts and the failure of IGTV, which allows users to share longer videos, to gain traction, it seems that it may have diverged too far from that of Zuckerberg and his Facebook executives.