Instagram has been on a long exciting journey over the last 8 years, from new updates to new filters. However, that all comes down to the creators behind the app. In this article, we’re going to explore who owns Instagram and what that means for the platform.
Instagram In The Beginning
In 2010, social media changed forever. Two entrepreneurs, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, created and launched the app in October of that year.
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@kevin and I are excited to be part of #foundersforchange, expressing our commitment to building a diverse team and pushing for more inclusion in both the startup and investment communities. I was lucky enough that my first startup job was working at Meebo, co-founded by Elaine Wherry and Sandy Jen, two phenomenal women, and they've set an example I strive to continue to follow in building a diverse team and inclusive culture. Check out some of the other entrepreneurs who've signed on at foundersforchange.org.
The c0-founders met at a party in January 2010. They were both working on separate apps. When they talked, combining the idea of socializing and photo sharing seemed like the perfect idea for an app.
Together, they created Instagram. At first, the focus of Instagram was like that of an instant telegram, hence the name. In fact, photos would be the whole point.
Next, they created filters. Primarily, the filters were to create Holga lens inspired looks so that pictures would look vintage and artsy.
Even Mike and Kevin, who own Instagram, had internet troubles.
On the night of the app’s launch, October 6, 2010, the app had so much traffic that the servers crashed.
Almost 25,000 people signed up to Instagram in the first 24 hours.
Certainly, the new app was a hit! It was easy to use and gave photos a unique presence online.
Within 9 months, the app had 7 million users. It became a trend among celebrities, too.
Quickly, people realised that Instagram was more than a photo sharing, photo editing, social media site. It was a place to encourage, support and discover new ideas and people.
The Impact Of Instagram
Although Instagram is a simple photo sharing platform, it has become more than that.
Who owns Instagram is very important. Kevin and Mike have remained humble and encouraging. They prioritize the personalized welcome the app has every time you log on.
One user, Julius Ibrahim, stated at a panel that Instagram helped spread the word of their innovative business idea. Julius runs Second Shot Coffee which employs homeless people and implements the pay-it-forward system.
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Schools back, come hang out with these crazy kids #MoreThanCoffee #SecondShotCoffee #socialenterprise #cafe #homelessness #PayItForward #socialchange #socent #London #EastLondon #BethnalGreen #LondonCoffee #coffeeshop #barista #baristalife #caffeine #cafelife #flatwhite #espresso #latte #brewing #chemex #v60 #aeropress #community
Apart from the youth of today using Instagram to challenge their creative side, the app has been a source of business for many others.
Instagram is an interactive and easy way for businesses to promote their products and services.
With hashtagging and location tagging, it’s easier than ever to find items and services tailored to you. This ensures businesses reach their target audience in an effective way.
Facebook Buys Instagram
After a successful 18 months, Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012.
Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates in February 2004, was celebrating nearly 1 billion users in early 2012.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock.
It was a good idea for Facebook to secure a more exciting social media platform at this time. Millions of young people have been leaving Facebook every year. It’s true that they prefer more visual sites such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Facebook, who owns Instagram, promised to develop the app as a separate entity from Mark Zuckerberg’s own social media site.
Kevin And Mike Stay With Instagram
Although Facebook, who owns Instagram now, had bought the company, Kevin and Mike kept working hard.
Along with their 16 person team, the co-founders continued to work independently within the larger scope of the app.
There were a few major changes when Facebook bought Instagram, but on the whole, it didn’t change that much. Changes included:
- More monthly users. Facebook, who owns Instagram, allowed the company to grow depsite being a rival to its own social site.
- Instagram added new filters.
- It linked to Twitter and Facebook, so you could tweet or post a photo straight from the Instagram app.
- Like Facebook, users could now tag friends in their Instagram photos.
- Users could now view Instagram on their web browser. However, it’s still not possible to post from this URL.
Kevin and Mike’s idea was always to keep the app simple and fun.
Who Owns Instagram Matters
However, Facebook didn’t always seem to see eye to eye with Kevin and Mike’s original idea.
Facebook, who owns Instagram, has changed so much about the app.
Facebook is a corporate company, and that has seeped into the Instagram community.
Now, Instagram has a growing number of influencers and paid partnerships between users and brands.
Certainly, the platform has become very commercialized with more ads from users than ever before.
Whether you have 1,000 followers or are a celebrity followed by millions, brands are reaching out to Instagram users to promote their products. What went from a small app for sharing photographs and creativity has slowly become a shopping channel.
Of course, Instagram has done well in encouraging anybody to practice their hand at photography. With the increased use of smartphones, Kevin and Mike, the co-founders, have made it possible for everyone to feel confident that their photos are good enough.
But Facebook seems to have had different priorities when it comes to the social media app.
How Did Facebook Change Instagram?
Facebook, who owns Instagram and has since 2012, has changed the photo-sharing app in many ways:
- In December 2012, Facebook rewrote the terms and services. Due to this, it was possible to sell users’ photos to third party companies without permission or compensation.
- Sponsored posts were introduced in November 2013. The following year, more analytic tools were introduced for advertisers. By prioritizing and catering to advertisers over users, Facebook was clear on who they valued: people who made money.
- In December 2013, Instagram launched Direct, a platform for instant messaging through the app. Although this seems innocent and convenient, it was actually creating competition against Snapchat.
- New filters and photo settings were introduced in June 2014.
- Instagram has introduced partner apps such as Boomerang, Hyperlapse and Layout.
- Perhaps the most controversial change with users was the change from a chronological feed to an algorithm-driven one. In March 2016, users logged into the app to find content “catered” to them. Some said it was just another way for brands and advertisers to make money, by appearing first in their feed.
- Next, Instagram Stories were launched in August 2016. This was another stab at the rival social media app, Snapchat.
- A slideshow option for photos was introduced in February 2017 so users could post more than one photo per post.
- In May 2018, the option to mute users was launched. This allowed you to follow people but never need to see their posts on your feed.
- In June 2018, IGTV was launched. The platform is competition for YouTube as users can now create long videos that followers can like and comment on all from their Instagram profile.
Facebook And Competition
Although Facebook, who owns Instagram now, has introduced fun, exciting and interactive changes to the app, it’s not all good. For the everyday user, it’s fun and convenient to have everything in one place. But what does this mean for sites such as Snapchat and YouTube?
It means that Facebook is creating competition and attempting to overtake all other existing successful social media sites.
Kevin And Mike Leave Instagram
The co-founders of Instagram announced their departure from the company in September 2018.
Not only was this a shock but it also brought to light the negative impact Facebook has had on the app.
Who owns Instagram may seem like an irrelevant detail to casual users. But to Kevin and Mike, it has changed the way their company ran.
It was revealed the pair left over ongoing frustration and tension due to the way Facebook changed the app.
Kevin and Mike haven’t always agreed with Mark Zuckerberg on new ideas. Specifically, they don’t like the way posts are shared between the two networks. After all, Facebook did promise to run Instagram has a separate entity.
Instead, the two social medias seem to be merging more every year. Recently, it has become possible to share your 24 hour Instagram story straight into Facebook’s stories.
But it’s not all bad news. Kevin and Mike promise to keep working hard with the intention of building something else.
“We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” Kevin said. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.”
It looks like Facebook is being set back every single year. Instagram has been a success for them in the last few years as their own use among young people has decreased.
Facebook has been subject to controversy this year. There have been concerns over their privacy settings and the way they are approaching the 2018 elections. Their own growth continues to slow.
The journey of who owns Instagram has certainly been an exciting, albeit rocky, one over the past 8 years. However, the app remains easy and fun to use. Facebook is always coming up with new ideas and it will be interesting to see what their next plans are.
On the other hand, look out for Kevin and Mike’s next project. If they can create something as successful as Instagram, who knows what they’ll be capable of doing next?