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Mark Zuckerberg quietly announces a massive increase in Instagram’s user numbers

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Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook
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Instagram continues to grow at a rapid clip, thanks at least in part to the adoption of popular features from rival Snapchat, such as Stories.

Instagram now has 400 million daily active users. The photo-sharing app’s unabated growth has seen it add an extra 100 million new daily users to its already impressive tally in just over seven months.

The new data was casually dropped by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday. Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 when it had a mere 30 million registered iOS users and had just launched on Android. By February 2013, the app reached its first major milestone of 100 million monthly active users.

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In mid-December 2016, Instagram announced that it had 600 million monthly users with 100 million users joining its service in the six months leading to that date. At the time, we noted that it had remained strangely silent on its daily active users — a statistic that is the crowning glory of its closest rival Snapchat (which reportedly boasted 150 million daily users at last count).

It seems Instagram’s growth has not been challenged by its competitor, although for a while there was talk of a drop in user engagement. The solution to its woes seems to have come in the form of a feature it borrowed from Snapchat: Stories. The temporal social-sharing function that allows users to post slideshows made up of images and video was copied wholesale in August from the app that pioneered it.

On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described the rollout of Instagram Stories as a “standout example” in product innovation, in an interview with Forbes. The photo-sharing app itself was touting the feature as a success a mere two months after its launch and, sure enough, in January it revealed that Stories were receiving 150 million daily views. To capitalize on its growth, Instagram started inserting skippable full-screen ads in-between Stories at around the same time, in partnership with a handful of brands.

Taking into consideration that less than two years ago Instagram had 400 million monthly active users, today’s quiet announcement seems even more impressive. In the Facebook earnings call, Sandberg also revealed that Instagram business profiles (introduced in May) are now being used by 5 million users.