After Instagram controversially modified its terms of service in December, many predicted Instagram's use would fall off a cliff. The changes, which made it clear Instagram wanted to make money off our photos, sparked fury like no other: Commentators called the change "Instagram's suicide note" and netizens planned boycotts.
For a while, it looked like Instagram use was actually going downhill. Most recently, the New York Post wrote a fairly sensationalist post claiming Instagram had shed nearly 25 percent of its active daily users in the wake of the terms of service debacle.
Now Instagram is pushing back with data of its own. On Thursday, it released its usage numbers for the first time since the terms of service brouhaha, and revealed that Instagram's base is actually -- wait for it -- growing. That's right, Instagram is experiencing growth rather than decline. Its monthly active user base grew 10 percent between December and January, according to an analysis of the numbers by AllThingsDigital.
What, then, accounts for the difference between the numbers the New York Post reported and the numbers reported by Instagram? Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch reveals that Instagram is tracking monthly active users, a much more stable and consistent number than the "daily active users" stat cited by the New York Post. Daily active user numbers tend to fluctuate (no surprise here) day-to-day, which means they're prone to peaks and troughs. And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Instagram saw a drop in users during the Christmas holiday, not right after the terms of service change, as did many Internet-based services. In other words, it's not just Instagram.
Whatever the reason for the numbers discrepancy, Instagram, at least according to its own data, seems to be doing fine. Besides the monthly active user growth, it also released other boast-worthy stats: Users post about 40 million photos per day, get 8,500 "likes" per second and receive 1,000 comments per second.