Facebook announced Monday that they had acquired Instagram, a photo-sharing service, for $1 billion cash and stock deal.
Instagram is a 2-year old app that has attracted more than 30 million users with its Twitter-style photo sharing service.
Facebook has made smaller acquisitions in the past, but many of them have been so-called “acqui-hires” where smaller companies are bought to acquire their engineering talent.
The Instagram acquisition is completely different, as Facebook potentially takes out a rival and takes over a company with a growing and devoted user base that has succeeded in a field that Facebook has struggled with.
Photo sharing has long been a hot button for Facebook, with most critics citing their privacy policies as the major downfall. However, Facebook users still upload upwards of 250 million photos a day.
Instagram has developed an offering that has proved attractive and compelling to a diverse group of users, and Facebook no doubt hopes to capitalize on the photo sharing app’s expertise.
While both Facebook and Instagram are hopeful for their new union, many pundits set the social media world ablaze with the criticisms of the mega-merger.
Many fear that Facebook would prohibit Instagram’s 30 million users from sharing their pictures with other social networks, such as Twitter and Tumblr.
So far, no word has come from Facebook regarding this exclusivity, but for most early adopters, it’s a done deal. Some even posted instruction of how to protect or delete your Instagram accounts.