Instagram Now Has Half a Billion Users

Latest 100 million users joined faster than previous batch

Instagram CEO Opens Up About Hitting 500M Users

Instagram passed 500 million users, and growth is accelerating as the photo sharing app clears a hurdle that has stalled competitors.

The most recent 100 million users joined up faster than the previous 100 million, indicating the app owned by Facebook Inc. won't be hindered any time soon by the growth plateau that plagues competitor Twitter Inc. Instagram said daily active users have reached 300 million. That's about double what Snapchat Inc. and Twitter see.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for about $750 million. Since then, the photo network has grown exponentially due to the ease of sharing images—a medium that can cross language barriers and create connections between people even without formal social ties. About 80 percent of Instagram's users come from outside of the U.S. 

Instagram was able to rely on the world's largest social network to assist growth, while tapping into Facebook's advertisers to start ramping up its business. In the last year, Instagram started focusing on being a destination for photos and video from events.

"It's all about knowing what's happening in the world right now and coming to Instagram as a media destination,'' Kevin Systrom, the company's chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang. He understands that he's echoing words also said by Twitter Chief Jack Dorsey. "What social media outlet doesn't say this? That's the great opportunity of our time.''

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Instagram CEO Systrom on Reaching Half a Billion Users