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Instagram wants to be clear: it’s not losing users. The company announced Tuesday that it’s hit 100 million monthly active users, a figure intended to rebut claims it was harmed by a terms of service kerfluffle in December, and to show the app is still growing and building traction.
100 million monthly active users is a decent statistic that puts Instgram’s traffic at about half that of Twitter, which most recently announced 200 million monthly actives, and close to Google+ with 135 million (although neither comes close to Facebook’s behemoth 1 billion .)
Instagram wrote in a blog post Tuesday about the milestone, noting how far the company has come:
“For the first time, we understood why Instagram was going to be different. We understood the power of images to connect people to what was happening in the world around them. And, although Instagram had a fraction of the user base it does today, that night we saw a preview of what Instagram would enable at a much larger scale down the road.
Now, nearly two and a half years later, over 100 million people use Instagram every month. It’s easy to see this as an accomplishment for a company, but I think the truth is that it’s an accomplishment for our community. Now, more than ever, people are capturing the world in real-time using Instagram—sharing images from the farthest corners of the globe. What we see as a result is a world more connected and understood through photographs.”
Co-founder Kevin Systrom explained Instagram’s growth at GigaOM’s Roadmap event in November, saying its focus on speed and reliability let the company continually refine one product rather than spread itself too thin. The company launched in October 2010 and sold to Facebook in May 2012. In November Systrom said he wasn’t worried about challenges from Twitter’s photo filters product or a video product, since Instagram was built to be something different:
“Instagram is a community, not a filters app,” he said at the event.