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December 28, 2012

Instagram Loses Users in Wake of Policy Changes

By Carlos Olivera, TMCnet Content Producer
In the wake of Instagrams policy changes, many expected the photo sharing application to lose users in mass quantities. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook (News - Alert), recently reneged on its new policy changes where it stated it would be allowed to sell users uploaded photos for advertising purposes. 

According to AppData, an analytics firm, Instagram saw a 25 percent decrease in users in the first seven days after the changes were announced. Prior to the announcement, Instagram averaged over 16 million users with that number dropping to 12.4 million over Christmas. 

Those numbers may be skewed just a little bit since AppData only records users who sign in to Instagram through Facebook, but it shows a worrisome trend for the photo sharing application. Instagram has since release a statement AppData’s findings were false.

"This data is inaccurate," an Instagram spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail. "We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram."

AppData is standing firm however, and stating that the reason for the decline was certainly due to the policy change announcement,  "[We are] pretty sure the decline in Instagram users was due to the terms of service announcement,” it said in a statement to the New York Post. 

However Instagram wants to interpret the numbers, there is no denying that a 25 percent decrease is a substantial amount. Also, according to Buzzfeed during the time Instagram was losing users, Flikr (another photo sharing app) saw 50,000 new users on Facebook.

Although AppData recorded the decrease of users in the first seven days, it also reports that Instagrams monthly users continue to grow. AppData records show that weekly active and monthly users both saw a one million user increase up to 28.5 and 43 million respectively. 

The backlash may not have been as great as some outlets had expected, but only time will tell how users really feel about the app, especially if Instagrams goes ahead with its plan does insert advertising into the app.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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