Checked content


Background Information

SOS Children, an education charity, organised this selection. Click here for more information on SOS Children.

Instagram logo.png
Instagram screenshot.jpg
Instagram 3.4.0 running on Android (operating system)
Original author(s) Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger (Burbn, Inc.)
Developer(s) Facebook, Inc.
Initial release October 6, 2010 (2010-10-06)
Stable release

3.5.3 (May 7, 2013 (2013-05-07)) [±]

3.5.1 (May 7, 2013 (2013-05-07)) [±]
Development status Active
Operating system iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 or later
Size 14 MB
Available in 25 languages
Type Photo & Video
License Freeware

Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook or Twitter. A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 16:9 aspect ratio now typically used by mobile device cameras.

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012. Instagram is distributed through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Support was originally available for only the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; in April 2012, support was added for Android camera phones running 2.2 Froyo.


Instagram began development in San Francisco when Kevin Systrom and Brazilian Michel "Mike" Krieger chose to focus their multi-featured HTML5 check-in project Burbn on mobile photography.

On March 5, 2010, Systrom closed a $500,000 seed funding round from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz while working on Burbn. Josh Riedel joined the company as Community Manager. Shayne Sweeney joined in November 2010 as an engineer and Jessica Zollman was hired as a Community Evangelist in August 2011.

In January 2011, Instagram added hashtags to help users discover both photographs and each other. Instagram encourages users to make tags both specific and relevant, rather than tagging generic words like "photo" in order to make photographs stand out and to attract like-minded Instagrammers. In September, version 2.0 went live in the App Store (iOS). It included new and live filters, instant tilt shift, high resolution photographs, optional borders, one click rotation and an updated icon.

On February 2, 2011, it was announced that Instagram had raised $7 million in Series A funding from a variety of investors, including Benchmark Capital, Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca (through Capital fund), and Adam D'Angelo. The deal valued Instagram at around $25 million.

On April 3, 2012, Instagram for Android was released, and it was downloaded more than one million times in less than one day. That same week, Instagram raised $50 million from venture capitalists for a share of the company; the process valued Instagram at $500 million. In the next three months Instagram was rated more than one million times on Google Play and was the fifth app ever to reach one million ratings on Google Play—as of April 2013, it had been rated nearly four million times.

In its largest acquisition deal to date, Facebook made an offer to purchase Instagram (with its 13 employees) for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock in April 2012, with plans to keep the service independently managed. Britain's Office of Fair Trading approved the deal on August 14, 2012, and on August 22, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission in the United States closed its investigation, allowing the deal to proceed. On September 6, 2012, the deal between Instagram and Facebook officially closed.

On April 12, 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. The deal, which was made just before Facebook was scheduled to go public, cost Facebook about a quarter of the cash-on-hand they had as of the end of 2011. The deal was for a company characterized as having "lots of buzz but no business model", and the price was contrasted with the $35 million Yahoo! paid for Flickr in 2005, a website which has since become among the 50 most popular in the world. Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook was "committed to building and growing Instagram independently", in contrast to its common practice of, as put it, buying "hot startups, kill[ing] their products, and redeploy[ing] their staff on other projects." According to multiple reports, the deal netted Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom $400 million based on his ownership stake in the business.

The exact purchase price was $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock.

On December 17, 2012, Instagram updated its Terms of Service, granting itself the right to sell users' photos to third parties without notification or compensation starting on January 16, 2013. The criticism from privacy advocates, consumers, National Geographic and celebrities like Kim Kardashian prompted Instagram to issue a statement retracting the controversial terms; regardless, the issue caused Instagram to lose a portion of its user-base as former users switched to other Instagram-like services. These services included Pheed, a multi-media social sharing platform launched in November, that gained more new users than any other app in the United States the week that Instagram changed their terms of service. Another service that gained many new users post-announcement was Yahoo!’s Flickr which Flickr released as the new mobile app for iOS with built-in vintage filters to rival with Instagram prior to the changes of terms and conditions by Instagram. Instagram is currently working on developing new language to replace the disputed terms of use.

In January 2013, it was confirmed that Instagram has asked for photo IDs to verify identities due to unspecified violations.

In January 2013, there were no future plans to make the application available on the BlackBerry's O.S. 7 devices, although it is probable that one will be available for the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices. (Current alternatives for BlackBerry 7 devices include InstaPhoto, LensBoost, and Photo Studio, two of which are available with various pricing.)

Instagram has no plans to offer Windows Phone support, though a release of an Instagram app for Windows Phone is rumoured for May 2013.



Basic image and elaboration through Instagram

By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users. In June 2011 Instagram announced it had 5 million users and it passed 10 million in September of the same year. In April 2012, it was announced that over 30 million accounts were set up on Instagram.

Instagram announced that 100 million photographs had been uploaded to its service as of July 2011. This total reached 150 million in August 2011.

Instagram recently made headlines with its efforts to keep the Instagram universe a positive space and has prohibited any hashtags or photographs that promote self-harm.

There are basic Terms of Use that Instagram users must follow, including an age requirement of 13 years or older, restrictions against posting violent, nude, partially nude, or sexually suggestive photographs and responsibility for one's account and all activity conducted with it.

There are also proprietary rights in content on Instagram. Instagram does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photographs, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, content) that users post on or through the Instagram Services.

By May 2012 58 photographs were being uploaded and a new user was being gained each second. The total number of photographs uploaded had exceeded one billion.

On August 9, 2012, English musician Ellie Goulding came out with a new music video for her song " Anything Could Happen". The video only contained fan submitted Instagram photographs that used various Instagram filters to represent words or lyrics from the song and over 1200 different photographs were submitted.

On February 27, 2013, Instagram announced that they had 100 million active users, only two and a half years after first launching. This was an increase of roughly 10 million users in a little over a month's time.

Many celebrities have profiles on Instagram, often displaying their extravagant lifestyles. Instagram is a backstage pass into the lives of musicians, actors, photographers and more. Many celebrities were outraged after Instagram's new Terms of Service, which started on Jan. 16 2013, and allows the photo-sharing app to sell images to advertisers without compensation to users.


Rich Kids of Instagram

The Rich Kids of Instagram is a blog on Tumblr that features photographs posted on Instagram displaying "various states of excess, undress and indulgence". Examples of the photographs featured on this blog are receipts of over $100,000, kids in private jets or yachts, expensive shoes, watches, jewelry, etc.

Weekend Hashtag Project

The "Weekend Hashtag Project" is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram's Community Team. Followers receive the weekend's project every Friday, and each project encourages participants to post creative photographs according to the designated theme each weekend.

Features and tools

Users can upload photographs, connect their Instagram account to other social networking sites (which will enable the option to share uploaded photos to those sites), and follow other users' feeds.

In 2012, Instagram created web profiles which allows users to use their Instagram account like a social media site. This gave users a web profile featuring a selection of recently shared photographs, biographical information, and other personal details. The web feed is a simpler version of the phone app, mimicking the look and feel users are already accustomed to.


  • Amaro
  • Mayfair
  • Rise
  • Valencia
  • Hudson
  • X-Pro II
  • Sierra
  • Willow
  • Lo-fi
  • Earlybird
  • Sutro
  • Toaster
  • Brannan
  • Inkwell
  • Walden
  • Hefe
  • Nashville
  • 1977
  • Kelvin

Removed Filters

  • Apollo (Removed in update 2.0)
  • Gotham (Removed in update 2.0)
  • Lily (Removed in update 1.0.6)
  • Poprocket (Removed in update 1.0.6, reinstated in update 1.0.7, and again removed in update 2.0)

Criticism and lawsuits

Terms of use

On December 17, 2012 Instagram announced a change to its terms of use that caused a widespread outcry from its user base. The controversial clause stated: "you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."

There was no apparent option for users to opt out of the changed terms of use without deleting their accounts.

The move garnered severe criticism from privacy advocates as well as consumers. After one day, Instagram apologized saying that it would remove the controversial language from its terms of use. Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, responded to the controversy, stating,

Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

Related products and services

  • Instamap is an app available for iPad that allows users of Instagram to find photos based on their location or a hashtag. Results can be displayed in a gallery or linked to a map.
  • 100 Cameras in 1 is an app available for iPhone users that provides additional effects for photos uploaded to Instagram.
  • Carousel, for Macs, provides a live feed of Instagram on the Mac.
  • is a free app that provides personal statistics related to Instagram, including number of followers, likes, and comments, along with usage statistics.
  • Instagram & Printing - Instaprint offers a device which can be rented for social gatherings that allows users to print photographs on Instagram. Printsgram allows a user's Instagram collection to be printed as a poster or stickers.
  • Printic offers one of the easiest ways to print and share Instagram pictures from an iPhone. Pictures come in a vintage 3x4 inches (7.62x10.16 cm) format, with an orange envelope and a message for the recipient.
  • Socialmatic - a graphic design firm in Italy created a prototype for a physical digital camera, called the Socialmatic, with the housing designed to look like the Instagram icon. The camera is designed with 16  GB of storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability, the ability to interface with the Instagram app, and the ability to produce colour prints. The project (apparently neither related to, nor officially commissioned or approved by, Instagram) seeks crowdfunding via Indiegogo, in order to be made available as a product.
  • Gramatica - app that gives Instagram users additional photo album options, such as: pinch/zoom, hide photo, and create lists.


Instagram was the runner-up for "Best Mobile App" at the 2010 TechCrunch Crunchies in January 2011. In May 2011, Fast Company listed CEO Kevin Systrom at number 66 in the "The 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2011". In June 2011, Inc. included co-founders Systrom and Krieger in its 2011 "30 Under 30" list. Instagram won "Best Locally Made App" in the SF Weekly Web Awards in September 2011. 7x7Magazine's September 2011 issue featured Systrom and Krieger on the cover of their “The Hot 20 2011” issue. In December 2011, Apple Inc. named Instagram "App of the Year" for 2011.

Retrieved from ""