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Facebook buys Instagram

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Social networking giant Facebook has made its biggest purchase yet after buying photo-sharing company Instagram for $1 billion dollars.
Facebook buys Instagram
When news broke out that Facebook had bought Instagram for US$1bn, it wasn’t long before the jokes started surfacing. “Mark Zuckerberg bought Instagram for $1 billion? Didn’t he know he could just download it from the App Store for $0.99?” Although this news may be of little consequence to users of both Facebook and Instagram, some are saying that the purchase has caused Facebook privacy fears. “Marketers could be presented with a whole new world of data,” Director for the Center of Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Deborah Mitchell said (Smart Money). “They’re getting a much richer picture of you and what you’re interested in.” Many business and marketing specialists have pointed out that Facebook photos have always been the perfect way for advertisers to find out what a particular person is interested in, simply by carefully studying everything that’s in the picture. Scott Steinberg, Chief Executive of TechSavvy, has said that users need to realise that there is someone looking over your shoulder at all times while you’re on a social networking site (The Herald Sun). The news is also particularly interesting as it marks Facebook’s biggest purchase ever. The company has consistently strayed away from making big purchases, so this move has left many wondering what it is about Instagram that Facebook felt it so necessary to have. "We will try to learn from Instagram's experience to build similar features into our other products," Mr Zuckerberg said in a statement (The Australian). "At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook's strong engineering team and infrastructure." Instagram is marketed as a fun way to share photos with friends. It was named iPhone app of the year in 2011, allowing users to snap photos with their iPhones and edit them using a variety of image filters and effects before sharing them online through Twitter. Zuckerberg himself has alluded to the fact that this is an out-of-the-ordinary move for Facebook. “This is an important milestone for Facebook because it's the first time we've ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together,” his statement said (Business Insider). Instagram has been quick to respond to its users who fear that the purchase will have a significant effect on the product they use and love. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wrote (Forbes). Zuckerberg says that the purchase will make it easier to share your Instagram photos through Facebook, but was clear that this does not mean it will become a Facebook-centric app. "We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience," Mr Zuckerberg wrote (The Herald Sun). "We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook."

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