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Facebook buys Instagram photo sharing apps for $1bn

To paraphrase the characters in the Facebook movie The Social Network, “A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” And according to reports that’s the figure Facebook has paid to buy smartphone app Instagram.

The free photo-sharing program launched on iPhone in October 2010 and finally made its way to Android phones just last week.

Instagram has proved incredibly popular with users and previous figures said that more than one billion photos had already been uploaded, with five million new pictures being added each day by the app’s 30 million users.

However, fans of the software – which allows creative filters to be applied to images before they are uploaded – shouldn’t worry that Instagram will now be tied solely to the Facebook social media website.

“We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience,” Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his personal page.

“We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”

It’s the first time Facebook has acquired a product and the reported $1bn (£629m) buyout includes cash and Facebook stock.

The buyout is surprising given that it comes just before Facebook’s planned entry into the Nasdaq stock market in a couple of months’ time, with $5bn worth of Facebook shares up for grabs.  

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