Facebook, with well over 845 million users, has purchased Instagram, a mobile app that allows users to take pictures and transform them into something more personalized. The $1 billion purchase has sparked global interest, leading many to ask thequestion: What comes next for Facebook? Is this purchase a push for them to climb to the top of the social media empire, or is this just another way to ensure that they will not fall from the top? Whatever it is, Facebook has a reputation of acquiring small startups before they have a chance to reach their full potential.
In this specific case, it seems like the purchase represents Facebook's move to become a social media superpower. Although Instagram, with 30 million users, could help Facebook expand their mobile site by allowing users to upload photos through a better platform, the app will probably see a similar fate to many of Facebook's other acquisitions. Many of their acquisitions, like ConnectU, Nextstop, and Beluga have given Facebook capabilities for social networking, travel recommendations, and group messaging. These purchases of start ups did not bring Facebook revenue, but none cost Facebook $1 billion either.
It seems clear that Facebook saw a threat in Instagram. As the saying goes, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. In this case, Facebook decided to get $1 billion closer.
For Instagram users worldwide, the decision has brought worries that Facebook will ruin the app that has stolen the hearts of so many. The app allows them to personalize photos, share them with friends, and create stories that many will see for years to come. Facebook and Instagram have attempted to quell these worries by maintaining that Instagram would still function “somewhat” separately. Zuckerberg also stated, “... we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.”
This purchase was not just for making Facebook better for users though. The app has millions of users, and is one of the missing pegs that Facebook needs to really push towards their aims in social media, networking, and now, photo sharing. The prospect of all the new talent that Facebook will acquire through this purchase brings some hope that they can better their somewhat lacking photo sharing tool. The purchase was smart for Facebook, but Instagram users should be weary because their beloved app won’t be the same.