Facebook has acquired Instagram for US$1bn

9 Apr 2012

Popular photo-sharing app Instagram has been acquired by Facebook for about US$1bn. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the news in a post on Facebook.

Instagram, a social network in its own right, allows users to share and stylise photos. It has attracted more than 30m iOS registered users and last week when it debuted on Android attracted 1m new users in a single day.

In a post on Facebook today, Zuckerberg said the plan is to allow Instagram to continue independently and the fact that it integrates with so many other social networks is, in fact, a bonus.

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

“We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.

“That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

“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,” Zuckerberg said.

It is understood that just prior to the acquisition, Instagram closed a US$50m funding round valuing it at US$500m with Seqoia, Greylock, Benchmark and Thrive.

For his part, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said fans of Instagram need not fear that the app will lose any of its zing.

“It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.

“The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You’ll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you. You’ll still be able to share to other social networks. And you’ll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique.

“We’re psyched to be joining Facebook and are excited to build a better Instagram for everyone,” Systrom said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years