Instagram now bigger than Twitter


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Instagram has told Newsbeat it has the potential to "change the world" as it announced it has overtaken Twitter with 300 million users.

The company's CEO Kevin Systrom described the milestone as "exciting" and said the company would "continue to grow".

Twitter claims to have 284 million users accessing the network each month.

Facebook, which boasts 1.35 billion monthly active users, bought Instagram in 2012.

Speaking to Newsbeat ahead of the announcement, Kevin Systrom said: "Instagram is about seeing a live pulse of the world right now, it's not just about taking a photo of a cute baby or a cute dog."

Instagram is also introducing verified accounts similar to the blue tick symbols used by Facebook and Twitter.

facebook screenshot

Newsbeat understands regular users who have been impersonated could be verified, alongside celebrities, sports stars and brands.

"We want to be all about authentic users and you making sure that you know you're following real people not bots, not spam accounts, not fake accounts." Mr Systrom added.

In an attempt to get rid of fake accounts or those breaking the company's rules, Instagram said it is deleting "spammy" accounts.

The company has warned that some users may find they have fewer followers as a result.

Instagram's co-founder hinted the company would soon be adding new features based around specific events.

"You're literally getting a view of what's happening in the world right now.

Kevin Systrom
Image caption Kevin Systrom wants to kick out bots and 'spammy' accounts

"What we need to do is figure out how to take the fact that everyone's contributing in the world and broadcast that more globally.

"If you're interested in what's happening at the World Cup, you can peer in, see the football players and see what they're thinking and doing before they go onto the field.

"Those are the types of things that I want to enable over the next year."

Since it was set up by co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010, Instagram has grown rapidly.

In February 2013, the company announced it had reached 100 million active monthly users.

Recently Instagram introduced advertising, with "sponsored posts" allowing brands to reach the app's growing number of users.

"Early on I would review and approve every single ad before it went on," Kevin Systrom said.

Instagram photo of coffee cup

Although some users were not happy about seeing adverts on Instagram, he said that adverts were needed to allow the company to grow and cope with its increasing size.

"The reason why we're doing this is as a growth engine for Instagram.

"When you get to 300m users it's not cheap to run that service and you need to make sure to be able to hire more people."

The company responded to Twitter's Vine app with a video-sharing feature of its own and introduced direct messaging to compete with rivals WhatsApp and Snapchat.

In June 2014 Instagram defended its rules on nudity as "fair" after criticism for removing photos of topless women.

Kevin Systrom told Newsbeat that Instagram's close relationship with Facebook had allowed it to learn from its mistakes.

"We're absolutely paying attention to the pitfalls companies have faced before and trying our best to avoid them."

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