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Instagram usage plunges in wake of terms debacle

Photo sharing service claims figures skewed, growth ‘steady’

Instagram usage plunges in wake of terms debacle
Instagram’s announcement on new service terms led to online fury by users.

Facebook's much-maligned photo-sharing service Instagram has experienced an almost 25% drop in daily users inside a week, since the introduction of its controversial new terms of service, reported Reuters.

Facebook's $715m acquisition mounted a damage control exercise following the outpouring of angry online comments from users, who interpreted the new terms as an intention by Instagram to use account holders' photos in advertisements without compensation.

Subsequent clarifying statements by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom did not stop the filing of a class action suit on December 21 that accused the firm of breach of contract.

Independent metrics compiler AppData, recorded the number of daily users on Instagram as reaching a low of 12.4 million compared with last week's high of 16.4 million, although the dip occurred in the holiday period, which is notoriously volatile. For example, Yelp saw daily usage via Facebook drop to 500,000 from 820,000 over a similar timeframe to Instagram's slippage.

Instagram responded to the reported dip by pointing out that the AppData figures accounted only for those users that link to the photo sharing service through Facebook accounts, which may amount to as little as 20% of Instagram's user base.

"This data is inaccurate. We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Friday.

"We'll have to monitor the data over the coming weeks to gain perspective on trends in Instagram's performance," AppData marketing manager Ashley Taylor Anderson said in an email.

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