@Jack (Dorsey) quits Instagram, putting the first-name handle up for grabs | TechCrunch

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The @jack handle on Instagram is back up for grabs. Today, Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, now Block CEO, announced he has deleted his Instagram account — the one with the coveted first-name handle. Typically, handles like these sell for thousands of dollars on the secondary market, so if the handle becomes available again, someone might make a killing by snagging it.

In a post on decentralized social media Nostr, Dorsey shared he deleted the account after years of non-use.

“Don’t know why it took me so long,” he wrote. “I think I was in the first 10 accounts on the platform, and one of the first angel investors. [Instagram co-founder] Kevin [Systrom] was our intern at Odeo,” noted Dorsey in his post. (Odeo was the organization founded in 2005 by Noah Glass and Evan Williams, that later reformed as the Obvious Corporation which ended up becoming the birthplace of Twitter.)

Image Credits: Screenshot from Damus

Dorsey also shared that when Instagram was sold to Facebook (now Meta), he stopped using the app — a history that was documented in Sarah Frier’s book, “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram.”

Dorsey and Systrom had been friends since working at Odeo together and, at one point, Twitter even tried to buy Instagram, but was rejected. When Dorsey later found out that Instagram was selling to Facebook — Twitter’s biggest rival at the time — for $1 billion, Dorsey stopped posting to the app, having been hurt Systrom didn’t tell him directly, the book claims. He hadn’t posted since April 9, 2012, the book noted — the morning he found out about Instagram’s sale. The photo documented an empty San Francisco bus.

But that and other photos are lost to history, as instagaram.com/jack is a dead-end.

The timing of the account deletion is, of course, interesting, given that Instagram is now competing in the same market as Twitter with its own microblogging app, Threads. Dorsey retained a stake in Twitter, now X, after Elon Musk’s acquisition — a fact Dorsey reminded another Nostr user of earlier this month, in response to a screenshot of Google Bard’s incorrect AI-generated output that had dubbed Dorsey a winner from the Twitter sale.

That said, the former Twitter CEO has backed other social networks that compete with Twitter, so the account deletion is probably not sour grapes over Threads.

For instance, Dorsey helped Twitter rival Bluesky get off the ground, having initially incubated the project while serving as Twitter’s CEO. Last year, Bluesky said it received $13 million in funding from Twitter to get started on R&D. (It has since raised additional seed funding.)

Dorsey also backed another decentralized networking protocol Nostr by donating around $245,000 in bitcoin. He now regularly posts to Nostr, which is accessible through clients like the mobile app Damus, which has since returned to the App Store after this summer’s temporary ban over rules violations.

The Twitter co-founder concluded today’s post by saying [it] “Will be interesting to see what happens with the @name…”

We couldn’t agree more.


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