Facebook Buys Photo Sharing Firm Instagram for $1B
Instagram, a hugely popular photo sharing service with more than 30 million users, is now part of the Facebook family. Last week the free app, which adds filters and special effects to pictures, became available to Android users and registered 1 million new sign-ups within the first 12 hours.
Facebook, which intends to go public in May, will shell out the equivalent of $1 billion in cash and stock for outright ownership, expected to close this quarter.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, assured users that his team would maintain a hands-off approach: “We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”
Thousands didn’t buy into Zuckerberg’s testimonial that Instagram would be run independently and immediately took to Twitter to tweet their displeasure and announce their departure from the service. While it’s unknown just yet if Instagram’s users will be targeted for ads based on the location tags of their photos, the possibility does exist.
Several sites are even posting instructions on how disgruntled Instagram users can save their photo libraries before quitting.
With exponential growth since it’s January 2010 launch, Instagram users now upload nearly 5 million photos via smartphones and tablets daily. Facebook recently estimated its social network of 845 million users, were uploading 250 million photos a day.
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