Having just recently passed its fourth anniversary, photo-sharing service Instagram has now reached another milestone: more than 300 million monthly active users. That puts it ahead of Twitter, which has 284 million monthly active users, and it could soon rival LinkedIn, which has 330-plus million registered members.
The mobile app is now growing by more than 70 million shared photos and videos every day, said Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in a blog post announcing the latest user figures.
Instagram is making a few changes as it continues to grow, Systrom added. Over the next few days, the site will begin featuring "verified" badges to assure users that the celebrity and brand accounts they follow are in fact who they say they are. Instagram will also begin deleting "spammy" accounts, many of which it has already deactivated, to improve user experience, Systrom said.
No Facebook Rival Yet
First launched in October 2010, Instagram grew rapidly and reached one million users just two months later. The company was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in April 2012, and surpassed 100 million users in February 2013. Users of the social network have now shared more than 30 billion photos with one another.
Instagram still has a long way to go to catch up to its parent company, however. Facebook in October reported annual growth rates that had taken it to 1.35 billion monthly active users. Last month, its standalone Messenger service reached 500 million monthly users.
Aiming for 'Authentic'
Last month, Instagram rolled out new search functionality and launched a "People" tab on its Explore page highlighting interesting accounts for users to follow. Its latest addition of "verified" badges is aimed at improving the ability of users to follow others even more, Systrom noted in his blog post.
"(A)s more people join, keeping Instagram authentic is critical -- it's a place where real people share real moments," Systrom said, adding that its current account housecleaning is aimed at "doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the Web."
Most users won't notice Instagram's deletion of spammy accounts, Systrom added. Any users who will be affected might notice a change in their follower counts, he said. They will also receive a notification with links to more information about the changes.