Facebook Buys Instagram: Why Is Everyone So Upset?
Shocked reactions flew through the digital world yesterday when it was announced that Facebook had purchased Instagram for $1 Billion. The mobile-app darling has grown exponentially over the past few years. It now has over 30 million users and was named “App of the Year” by Apple in 2011. The purchase was great for both Facebook and the small, revenue-lacking Instagram. So why are people so shocked & upset about the purchase? Well let’s lay out a few of the perspectives involved:
Why this is good for Facebook:
- Instagram is much better for mobile photo sharing. While the Facebook app requires users to move through 6 screens before they can take a picture, Instagram only has one. About a year ago, Business Insider actually listed Instagram as Facebook’s Biggest Threat.
- Facebook had been working on a new photo-sharing app. Unfortunately, the mobile Facebook app is notoriously slow already. Change wasn’t happening anytime soon.
- Acquiring Instagram will help them solve this major issue of their past. They just need to tread carefully so they don’t isolate Instagram’s current super-fans.
Why this is good for Instagram:
- Although the small (6-12 person) company has been extremely successful, it hasn’t discovered any way to make money. The $1 Billion purchase and the employees’ new status as Facebook employees will ensure the founders (& the company) have a future.
Why this is “bad” for Instagram enthusiasts:
- Instagram has a distinctly hipster vibe to it. You know, that’s where all those emotion-heavy, hyper-processed photos on your Facebook wall come from. So in many people’s minds, Instagram sold their souls to Facebook for some fast cash.
- Many are worried Instagram will be absorbed into the Facebook machine, rather than remaining an independent app.
- Others are concerned that Facebook will use Instagram’s technology in a non-mobile app. Much of the appeal of Instagram is that it is mobile-only– people take one photograph, edit it, and share it. This contrasts sharply with how people use Facebook albums.
Despite many people’s worried reactions to the acquisition, Mark Zuckerberg has assured the masses that he is determined to grow Instagram independently. Facebook is going to work with the Instagram team to make photo sharing more user-friendly, rather than just absorbing the successful company into the Facebook machine.
How do you feel about Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram?