Half A Billion People Are Now Sharing Instagram Photos

If you needed any more proof that Instagram is slowly but surely taking over the world, the photo-sharing platform has officially hit half a billion users.

“This scale is not a badge on our uniform, but a signal of our ambition. If we can have a billion or a billion and a half on Instagram, we get closer to capturing every experience in the world,” co-founder Kevin Systrom said of the milestone in a recent interview.

Instagram has gained popularity with teenagers, young adults, celebrities, models, YouTube personalities, and photographers the world over since its inception in 2010.

Facebook bought the app for a whopping $1 billion once the platform reached 30 million users back in 2012, the social networking website’s first huge acquisition.

The company announced its 500 million mark in a blog post yesterday (June 21), making a point of emphasizing how diverse Instagram’s user base has become.

“Today, we’re excited to announce our community has grown to more than 500 million Instagrammers — more than 300 million of whom use Instagram every single day. Our community also continues to become even more global, with more than 80 percent living outside of the United States.

“As you’ve captured and shared the moments happening around you, you’ve formed incredibly varied and diverse communities. Whether you’re an illustrator, a sneakerhead or an astronaut on the International Space Station, every photo and video you share helps bring people closer to friends and interests, broaden perspectives and inspire a sense of wonder. You’ve made Instagram a place where the everyday and the epic are always within reach.”

Of course, celebratory posts were also shared on Instagram. The video clip below racked up millions of views.

Earlier this year, Instagram announced a possible change would be coming to user feeds. Instead of viewing photos in the order they were posted (with the most recent appearing first) as everyone had become used to, photos would be shown based on an algorithm that determined what photos were most important to the viewer. This would be based on the accounts that a user interacted with the most.

This suggestion caused widespread panic, and then plain old annoyance, with some of their half a billion users expressing their discontent over social media. Some claimed that their posts got less likes as a result of the algorithm change.

Facebook and Twitter previously released similar changes for news feeds and timelines, respectively, but they apparently weren’t met with as much uproar. The former is constantly making updates to the way information is presented on the website and, considering they own Instagram, that platform’s user base should probably get used to their worlds being turned upside down on a fairly regular basis.

Perhaps bigger than the algorithm announcement, Instagram also underwent a complete design overhaul in early May. Its app icon went from an old-school, brown-and-beige-camera look to a simpler icon made of a rainbow-hued gradient with white outlining the camera.

The feed was given an almost stark black and white design, allowing brightly colored photos to stand out more than ever. All Instagram-related apps received a similar redesign treatment.

“The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become,” the website’s announcement said.

Funny enough, Instagram’s official account is the most followed on the platform, with 144 million. Singer/songwriter Selena Gomez comes in second place, with 69 million followers.

Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, and Ariana Grande round out the top five.

Here’s to half a billion people sharing their creativity (and filtered selfies) on Instagram.

[Image via Natee Meepian / Shutterstock.com]