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Instagram (commonly abbreviated to IG or Insta) is an American photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and originally launched on iOS in October 2010. The Android version was released in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited desktop interface in November 2012, a Fire OS app in June 2014, and an app for Windows 10 in October 2016. The app allows users to upload media that can be edited with filters and organized by hashtags and geographical tagging. Posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations and view trending content. Users can like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed, a function that seems to be discontinued as of September 2020.
Instagram was originally distinguished by only allowing content to be framed in a square (1:1) aspect ratio with 640 pixels to match the display width of the iPhone at the time. In 2015, these restrictions were eased with an increase to 1080 pixels. The service also added messaging features, the ability to include multiple images or videos in a single post, and a Stories feature—similar to its main opposition Snapchat—which allows users to post photos and videos to a sequential feed, with each post accessible by others for 24 hours each. As of January 2019, the Stories feature is used by 500 million users daily.After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 1 billion as of June 2018. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.
As of January 2021, the most followed person is Portuguese professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with over 253 million followers. As of January 14, 2019, the most-liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, posted by the account @world_record_egg, created with the sole purpose of surpassing the previous record of 18 million likes on a Kylie Jenner post. The picture currently has over 54 million likes. Instagram became the 4th most downloaded mobile app of the 2010s.
Instagram began development in San Francisco as Burbn, a mobile check-in app created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Realizing that Burbn was too similar to Foursquare, Systrom and Krieger refocused their app on photo-sharing, which had become a popular feature among Burbn users. They renamed the app Instagram, a portmanteau of "instant camera" and "telegram".
2010–2011: Beginnings and major funding
On March 5, 2010, Systrom closed a $500,000 seed funding round with Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz while working on Burbn. Josh Riedel joined the company in October as Community Manager, Shayne Sweeney joined in November as an engineer, and Jessica Zollman joined as a Community Evangelist in August 2011.The first Instagram post was a photo of South Beach Harbor at Pier 38, posted by Mike Krieger at 5:26 PM on July 16, 2010. Systrom shared his first post, a picture of a dog and his girlfriend's foot, a few hours later at 9:24 PM. It has been wrongly attributed as the first Instagram photo due to the earlier letter of the alphabet in its URL. On October 6, 2010, the Instagram iOS app was officially released through the App Store.In February 2011, it was reported 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 $20 million. In April 2012, Instagram raised $50 million from venture capitalists with a $500 million valuation. Joshua Kushner was the second largest investor in Instagram's Series B fundraising round, leading his investment firm, Thrive Capital, to double its money after the sale to Facebook.
2012–2014: Additional platforms and acquisition by Facebook
On April 3, 2012, Instagram released a version of its app for Android phones, and it was downloaded more than one million times in less than one day. The Android app has since received two significant updates: first, in March 2014, which cut the file size of the app by half and added performance improvements; then in April 2017, to add an offline mode that allows users to view and interact with content without an Internet connection. At the time of the announcement, it was reported that 80% of Instagram's 600 million users are located outside the U.S., and while the aforementioned functionality was live at its announcement, Instagram also announced its intention to make more features available offline, and that they were "exploring an iOS version".On April 9, 2012, Facebook, Inc. bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock, with a plan to keep the company 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 U.S. closed its investigation, allowing the deal to proceed. On September 6, 2012, the deal between Instagram and Facebook officially closed with a purchase price of $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock.The deal closed just before Facebook's scheduled initial public offering according to CNN. The deal price was compared to the $35 million Yahoo! paid for Flickr in 2005. Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was "committed to building and growing Instagram independently." According to Wired, the deal netted Systrom $400 million.In November 2012, Instagram launched website profiles, allowing anyone to see user feeds from a web browser with limited functionality.Since the app's launch it had used the Foursquare API technology to provide named location tagging. In March 2014, Instagram started to test and switch the technology to use Facebook Places.
2015–2017: Redesign and Windows app
In June 2015, the desktop website user interface was redesigned to become more flat and minimalistic, but with more screen space for each photo and to resemble the layout of Instagram's mobile website. Furthermore, one row of pictures only has three instead of five photos to match the mobile layout. The slideshow banner on the top of profile pages, which simultaneously slide-showed seven picture tiles of pictures posted by the user, alternating at different times in a random order, has been removed. In addition, the formerly angular profile pictures became circular.
On May 11, 2016, Instagram revamped its design, adding a black-and-white flat design theme for the app's user interface, and a less skeuomorphistic, more abstract, "modern" and colorful icon. Rumors of a redesign first started circulating in April,...