Instagram surpasses 2 billion monthly users

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testifies at a US Senate hearing in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | beautiful pictures

Instagram’s addictive content has US lawmakers concerned that Adam Mosseri, the social media service’s CEO, has drag to the National Assembly for the first time last week, the latest in a tumultuous year at the photo-sharing app.

But despite the recent controversies surrounding Instagram, the app hit a new milestone of 2 billion monthly active users this fall, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The subject of Mosseri’s hearing before a Senate Commerce subcommittee was the protection of children online, an issue that has plagued Instagram’s image over the past few months.

Even with all the negative publicity, Instagram is more important than ever to the fate of its parent company, now known as Meta.

Instagram hasn’t made its user count public since it passed 1 billion won Monthly active users ticked off in June 2018, and it has avoided touting its growth at a time when lawmakers and regulators have deemed Facebook to have overrun its control of the market.

The employees, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, told CNBC they were aware of the 2 billion users in internal conversations. One person said Instagram hit this number about a week before Facebook changed name to Meta in October.

A company spokesman declined to comment.

Instagram launched in 2010 and was acquired by Facebook for about $1 billion two years later, as CEO hub By Mark Zuckerberg efforts to move from web to mobile. The app took eight years to reach 1 billion users and just three years to double that number.

“That’s a pretty substantial annual user growth rate,” said David Heger, an analyst at Edward Jones.

The speed at which it expands to 2 billion users is particularly important, Heger said, given the stiff competition emerging from TikTok, which has grown in popularity by helping people create and share short, humorous videos on a daily basis. simple way.

“It tells me that even with TikTok’s recent challenge, Instagram is definitely right for everyone,” Heger said.

According to the results of a survey published Last month by Forrester, 63% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 have used TikTok weekly this year, compared with 57% for Instagram. In terms of downloads, TikTok was installed 596.1 million times globally this year Apple and Google devices, topping 570.7 million installs for Instagram, according to SensorTower.

Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research, a company focused on digital technology, said: “TikTok has done a great job of capturing the youngest demographic over the last four or five years. “It shared the video and shared the short video what Snap did to text and disrupt that particular demographic. “

Zuckerberg reacted the way he usually does – by cloning the contest. Facebook launched Reels video sharing feature in August 2020. In which third quarter earnings report in October, the company said it would make Reels a core part of its Facebook and Instagram services to try and engage users between the ages of 18 and 29.

Blessings and curses

But Facebook’s attempt to attract younger users to Instagram and try to keep them there for a longer time is what puts the company in front of the ranks of regulators, lawmakers and a growing number of parents. .

In September, The Wall Street Journal began running a series The stories are based on a trove of documents leaked by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen. One of the most notable findings came from a story that showed the company knew Instagram was bad for teenagers’ mental health and was doing little about it.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, speaks during a hearing of the Commerce and Energy Subcommittee on Media and Technology on Capitol Hill December 1, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | beautiful pictures

After the series, lawmakers called on the company to stop developing Instagram products for children under 13. The company said it would halt the project, but would not commit to closing it.

Congressional committees have since held multiple hearings on the impact of social media on teenagers, including Mosseri’s testimony in the Senate on Wednesday. Many senators compared Facebook’s strategy to make teenagers addicted to products with the strategy of books used by Big Tobacco.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said: “I believe the time for self-control and self-regulation is over.

“Some Big Tech companies have said, ‘Trust us,’” said Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. “That seems to be what Instagram is saying in your testimony. But self-control depends on trust. Trust is gone.”

Whether or not pressure from Blumenthal and others in Washington forces Instagram to change, Facebook needs the app to stay the same.

Facebook’s main app had 2.91 billion monthly active users as of October, and expansion is slowing relative to Instagram. While Instagram’s user base has doubled, Facebook’s has only grown by 30%. Facebook app revenue is forecast to grow 18% next year to $135.1 billion, according to eMarketer, while Instagram’s growth is expected to grow 30% to $60.5 billion.

In order for Meta to be able to finance its bold and costly ambitions to move the company into the so-called metaverse, a world of augmented and virtual reality experiences, it needs Instagram to continue to grow and evolve and grow. reap huge profits.

“I still see it as a very important part of the company,” says Heger. “If you look over the next five years, revenue from Instagram is growing faster than revenue from the core platform.”

CLOCK: Instagram director Adam Mosseri testifies on Capitol Hill Instagram surpasses 2 billion monthly users

Emma James

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