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Two Years After the Facebook Sale, the Instagram Guys Aren't Bored

There's plenty to do! Like personally approving every ad that goes on the photo-sharing service.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram to Facebook more than two years ago. Why are they still there?

Because it’s interesting! The co-founders shared some of what keeps them busy during an interview with Kara Swisher and Liz Gannes at Code/Mobile.

For starters, what used to be a tiny company (about a dozen employees and 45 million users) is now pretty big (70 employees and 200 million users). And while Instagram’s core product looks the same to outsiders — an app that lets users share photos in a square frame with other people who have the app — they’ve added all kinds of features, like video and messaging.

And there are subtle but important changes: Up until this year, Instagram’s “discovery” function was “weak sauce,” Krieger said — unless you wanted to see photos of Justin Bieber. Now they’ve fixed it by making it more personalized, and usage is up fivefold.

Systrom also said he spends some of his time personally approving every ad that goes on the service — and a lot of time thinking about how Instagram will handle direct competitors, like Snapchat, and every other service that competes for Instagram users’ attention. And yes, that means the New York Times.

Here’s a highlight reel:

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