NEW YORK—Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his social networking page that the company just agreed to buy mega-popular photo sharing service Instagram.
The deal consists “approximately $1 billion in a combination of cash and shares of Facebook,” the company says in a statement.
Instagram began as a photo sharing application for pictures taken with smartphones—allowing users to add quirky effects and hues—but has quickly evolved into a mini social networking platform of its own. More than 5 million photos are uploaded daily to the network.
The developer, which just launched a Android version of Instagram, already had 30 million users despite being, until the moment of the Android launch, iOS-only.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Zuckerberg, CEO of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook announced. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.
While some Instagram users lamented the purchase, fearing that Facebook would shut down the service much like the previously acquired Gowalla. But Zuckerberg shot that rumor down, saying that Facebook plans to keep Instagram independent, and to continue to give users the option of posting to other social media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter.
Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom co-founded Instagram only two years ago. “We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience,” said Systrom, who also serves as Instagram’s CEO.
Technology blog Gizmodo’s take on the acquisition is that Facebook eliminated a fast-growing rival. “And unlike Twitter, the last little social network that didn’t stay little, Facebook’s nipping Instagram in the bud before it takes on a life of its own,” according to Gizmodo editor Kyle Wagner.