Perhaps the biggest news in social media this week was Facebook’s one billion dollar purchase of photo sharing platform Instagram.
One billion dollars
The one billion dollar price tag on the young Instagram, which has less than 20 employees, has been the subject of much discussion. Some say Facebook bought Instagram as it was a competitor, others opine that Facebook snapped up Instagram before other competitors could.
Still others say that images are the future of social media, and that Facebook’s investment is a smart move to engage with picture-taking users.
The one billion dollar deal is made up of cash and shares.
Price tags and competition aside, the fact remains that Instagram offers better functionality for users uploading images from their smartphone than Facebook does. An Instagram image can be uploaded to Facebook in less clicks than through Facebook itself, and Instagram offers filters and supports the use of hashtags.
Announcement of the acquisition comes hot on the tracks of Instagram launching an Android app (the app had previously only been available on iPhone). The Android app had five million downloads in six days.
There was a small backlash over the Android launch, with existing community displeased at Instagram’s decreasing exclusivity. Following the Facebook announcement, Twitter users expressed their displeasure, many encouraging others to leave Instagram. Whilst some said they were leaving the platform because it would become less exclusive, and they didn’t want to share it with stereotypical Facebook users, many expressed concerns about Facebook mining data from Instagram and privacy issues.
Although Instagram images have always been able to be posted to Facebook, owning Instagram means that Facebook will have greater access to data, including any information included with the images themselves when they are uploaded (this can potentially extend to time photo taken, and locations, depending on user settings).
Give them something to snap about
As social media platforms across the board move to better display images, creating opportunities for users to engage with brands through photography, or creating experiences worth photographing, will become a priority.