Instagram reports 10% user growth after privacy flap

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After weeks of speculation that proposed changes to Instagram's privacy policy and terms of service had derailed the photo-sharing service's growth, founder Kevin Systrom said Thursday that its userbase instead increased 10 percent between December 2012 and January 2013.

There are now more than 90 million monthly active Instagram users worldwide sharing 40 million photos per day, Instagram reports. In addition, users are adding 8,500 "likes" and 1,000 comments per second. "Instagram continues to see very strong growth around the world," Systrom told AllThingsD. "With many of the product and internationalization improvements we've made, we've been excited to see these efforts resonate with users globally."

Last month, The New York Post--citing third-party data--reported Instagram declined from 16.4 million daily active users to 12.4 million in the course of four days after announcing policy changes enabling the company to share user content and information such as location data, usage data and device identifiers with other Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-owned entities. Following a wave of customer backlash, Instagram said it would not institute language tied to planned advertising services, but new changes going into effect Jan. 19 still include a mandatory arbitration clause that legal experts say protects Instagram from many forms of liability. The terms also retain language enabling Instagram to insert ads in conjunction with user content.

Because Instagram has never announced daily user numbers, it is still unclear whether the service did experience a drop in traffic immediately after announcing the policy changes, although the data supplied by Systrom indicates the company quickly righted the ship. In the past, Instagram has reported only registered user totals, not monthly active user statistics. During an October conference call accompanying Facebook's third-quarter earnings report, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Instagram had more than 100 million registered users at that time, compared to 27 million when the social networking giant acquired the iOS and Android app six months earlier. Facebook is expected to announce its fourth quarter earnings Jan. 30.

For more:
- read this All Things D article
- read this Dow Jones Business News article
- read this Atlantic Wire article

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