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Instagram acquisition prompts user backlash

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The founders of Instagram are “psyched” to be joining Facebook in a $US1 billion deal, but the backlash from users has highlighted the drawbacks of being acquired by an industry giant.


Based in San Francisco, Instagram is a free photo-sharing mobile application that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter and then share it on a variety of social networking services or through the app itself.


It was founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who, according to Systrom, “set out to change and improve the way the world communicates and shares”.


The founders certainly achieved their goal – Instagram has 30 million users on iOS alone, and attracted one million sign-ups on Android last week.


Instagram has now been acquired by Facebook for $US1 billion. It will remain an independently-branded standalone app, but will strengthen its ties with the social media giant.


Systrom wrote in a blog post that he and Krieger “couldn’t be happier” to announce the news.


“With the support and cross-pollination of ideas and talent at a place like Facebook, we hope to create an even more exciting future for Instagram and Facebook alike,” Systrom wrote.


“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.”


Systrom has insisted the Instagram app “will be the same one you know and love”, reassuring users they will still be able to share photos on networks other than Facebook.


Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in his own blog post that Instagram will be joining Facebook, allowing it to work “even more closely” with the Instagram team.


“We believe these are different experiences that complement each other,” Zuckerberg wrote.


“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.”


But not everyone is happy about the acquisition, with countless Instagram users taking to Twitter to voice their intentions to delete their Instagram accounts.


Some users are concerned Instagram will change – despite promises from both companies that it won’t – while others are concerned about the influx of Facebook’s mainstream user base.


“Guess I might as well go ahead and delete my Instagram now. The Android ppl weren’t that bad. but frequent FB users are treacherous,” one user tweeted.


Meanwhile, other users are concerned about privacy issues, and are posting tweets about how Facebook intends to collect users’ personal information for one massive database.