From 13 employees to 400 mil. users: Instagram turns 6

Instagram started out as a free mobile app, but in its six years of existence it has grown into an independent social network.

Published Oct 6, 2016 12:03 PM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Jul 27 2022 3:46 AM CDT

The most popular photo-sharing app celebrates its 6th birthday. In its six years of existence, Instagram has grown into an independent social network.

From 13 employees to 400 mil. users: Instagram turns 6 |

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012 and over 300 million as of December 2014. The latest numbers show that Instagram has more than 400 million active users, more than Twitter.

Instagram's potential was recognized by Facebook so they bought it 2012 for $1 billion. At the time of the sale, Instagram counted only 13 employees. Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook was "committed to building and growing Instagram independently," in contrast to its past practices.

Instagram is the one to thank or blame, however you look at it, for the spread of the selfie phenomenon, but it also provided the opportunity to its users to earn money, of course if they are popular enough.

Instagram has also recently introduced new capabilities that put it in direct competition with other social media platforms like Snapchat, but lack the augmented reality capabilities of apps like Snapchat. While it remains to be seen where Facebook plans to go with Instagram, it is still extremely popular and could benefit from Facebook's 1 billion active users in ways that Snapchat simply can't.

Lana has a passion for technology and science. She spends her time looking for the latest and most interesting technology and science news. Her passion is in gadgets, wearables, and other cool and interesting applications of technology or science. She also spends her free time gaming in MMOs like World of Warcraft. She has prior experience covering technology for publications and breaking news. If she’s not doing either, you might just find her exploring the metaverse in VR. Lana wants to expand TweakTown’s coverage of mobile, wearables and gadgets while also bringing her experience with science and general tech to TweakTown. Her area of coverage is around science, technology, smartphones, wearables, and general neat gadgets. She hopes to one day be able to drive around in her self-driving car while she schedules an appointment for a SpaceX trip to the moon on her smartwatch.

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