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Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion

Instagram has been purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, and the company says the talent and technology will move offices to join the Facebook crew as they continue to grow the Instagram brand.

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Facebook’s big acquisition

According to Instagram, the photo application company has been acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in stock and cash. The company has already raised $47 million in funding through high profile firms like Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Founder Kevin Systrom said in a statement1 that the app will remain in its current state with users still following the same users and having access to the same free features, and there will be more added as the Instagram team joins Facebook. Systrom notes that the company will 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.”

Systrom said, “When Mike and I started Instagram nearly two years ago, we set out to change and improve the way the world communicates and shares. We’ve had an amazing time watching Instagram grow into a vibrant community of people from all around the globe.”

On his personal timeline, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg said, “For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”

Facebook doesn’t plan more major acquisitions

Zuckerberg adds, “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.”

In March, Instagram’s user count surpassed that of Foursquare2 and had already added Facebook features in early January3. Instagram founders were named in the 2011 Genius 50 Power Moves list for their aggressive expansion, funding accomplishments and their app going mainstream.

Instagram was recently launched for Android devices after a long wait, but took heat4 for collecting emails for users to be “first in line” in exchange for their email, yet there was no line, and users found out long after the press – the company was obviously sidetracked with their acquisition, but we are left to wonder what they/Facebook will do with the still unexplained shady email address collection snafu.

1 Instagram’s statement
2 Instagram surpasses Foursquare
3 Instagram’s Facebook features
4 Instagram launches on Android

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Tinu Abayomi-Paul

    April 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I’m hesitant to believe that Facebook is going to stick to that plan. I bet they’ll start out that way. They may even intend to let Instagram keep doing its thing. But in 2 years, it’ll be FriendFeed all over again. Not that the most useful part of FF was EVER integrated into FB.

    So close to bursting their own bubble…

  2. Benn Rosales

    April 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve always thought the app was overrated, they have to hold a patent on something else fb wants, a pic app that has 20 rivals? There’s more here.

  3. Luthando

    April 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    $1 billion dollars ?! Wow. That could feed all the starving people in Africa !

  4. Steve Scott

    May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, that’s a lot of ‘Likes’!

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Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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