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Sometime during the night of 25 March 2014, Instagram added its 200 millionth user. The photosharing application has been growing steadily, adding around 50 million users in the last six months:

To the 50 million of you who’ve joined in the last six months, welcome. We’re so glad you’re here. And from our team to all 200 million of you, thank you for making Instagram great. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create next.1

The success of Instagram shows that Facebook can, indeed, foster and help grow a successful company. In August of 2012, it was announced that Facebook would buy Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stocks. At the time of the acquisition, Instagram had somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 million users.2 So, to put this in perspective, in the roughly 686 days between the launch of Instagram (October 6th, 2010) and the date the acquisition was approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (August 22, 2012) the photosharing app added around 40 million users. In the 581 days since Facebook acquired Instagram, the photosharing app has added roughly 160 million users. To break it down even further, prior to being acquired by Facebook, Instagram was adding around 58,000 users a day; post acquisition, Instagram has added roughly 275,000 users a day.

Though Instagram and Oculus represent two entirely different products, the success of Instagram is clear proof that Facebook can successfully grow a company. There was a concerted effort, on the part of Facebook, to allow Instagram to remain independent, and the app became incredibly successful. Facebook is promising to remain hands-off with regards to Oculus – at least for the foreseeable future – yet the pundits are as skeptical as ever. While it does seem a strange acquisition, the fear that Facebook will dismantle Oculus seems a bit dramatic.

  1. Instagram Blog, “Instagram Today: 200 Million Strong,” 25 March 2014  
  2. Matt Brian, TheNextWeb, “Instagram may have just hit 40 million total users, that’s 10 million new signups in 10 days,” 13 April 2012