Instagram has put to rest rumours about the photo sharing app losing users with the release of its newest figures. A confident Instagram released figures today to show that a whopping 90 million people use its photo effect and sharing services on a monthly basis.

Surprise, surprise! The number of Instagram users have not seen a drop, but seen a rise of about 10 percent in the period of December to January. As reported by Reuters in December, a study by AppData had shown that the number of Instagram users was declining thanks to the Terms of Services (ToS) switchover fiasco.

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Thanks to a misunderstanding in the new ToS, users were made to believe that Instagram would own user generated images and could sell them off or use them in advertisements as and when it pleased. The uproar that followed almost saw an exodus of dedicated Instagram users. Wildlife and nature magazine National Geographic even refused to post any more images on the site till the ToS were changed.

A flustered Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, not only issued an apology for the ‘confusing language’ but also reverted to the ToS that had been in effect ever since the service began. Today, after the release of the growth in Instagram users, a relieved Systrom told AllThingsD, “Instagram continues to see very strong growth around the world. With many of the product and internationalization improvements we’ve made, we’ve been excited to see these efforts resonate with users globally.”

So, whatever happened to the reports about drop in user base for Instagram?

Reports suggest that since the report was based on third-party analytics, it is not as easy to decode a user base as it looks. Back in December, online tracker AppData had revealed that the number of daily active users who accessed the service through Facebook dropped to 12.4 million as of December 28, compared to a peak of 16.4 million in the previous week. The drop, of course, was being attributed to the change in Instagram ToS. But it has to be noted that the figures pertained to the number of daily users Instagram had.

Gauging the number of users who access an app daily is a tricky affair. Not all users – maybe not even more than half of the base – access a photo editing app like Instagram daily. This coupled with the fact that most apps and websites see a fall in visitors post the Christmas holiday season is why the fall in numbers for Instagram were looking this scary.

Instagram’s press report now has these figures on it:

  • 90 million monthly active users
  • 40 million photos per day
  • 8,500 likes per second
  • 1,000 comments per second

Impressive figures, but we wonder why it took so long for Instagram to release these figures, something that is the norm in the industry now. Instagram has released these figures with a lot of caution, only days before the revised ToS goes into effect. Instagram also sent out an email to users requesting them to check out the terms listed down before they go into effect.

Next up on Instagram’s agenda should be releasing numbers of daily active users. That should put a lot of rumours to rest.

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