Instagram monthly user tally climbs to 300 million

Usage of the photo-sharing service bought by Facebook in 2012 jumped 50 percent in the past nine months.

Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Instagram continues to grow.

The photo-sharing service tallied a new milestone of 300 million users who used the service at least once a month, a jump of 50 percent over the past nine months, it said Wednesday. The company had previously said it reached 200 million users in March.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook two years ago, also said it counts 70 million photos and videos being shared each day, up from 60 million it announced in March.

"We're thrilled to watch this community thrive," Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said in a statement.

Instagram is being watched by investors as a case study of Facebook's strategy of buying some companies and allowing them to run as somewhat independent divisions. Messaging service WhatsApp, which had 600 million monthly active users as of August, and virtual reality technology maker Oculus VR, both purchased by Facebook in the past year, are being run in similar ways.

For Instagram, the growth is also affirmation of its efforts even as it still works to remove spam by deactivating accounts associated with fraudulent or spammy missives on the service. In the US, about one-in-six smartphone users is estimated to be using Instagram, according to market research firm eMarketer. Most of those users, nearly 79 percent, are between the ages of 12 and 34.

Instagram also said it plans to offer a badge for some accounts after it has verified their authenticity. This move, which is similar to what Twitter and Facebook offer, helps users identify accounts of celebrities and public figures, and discern them from potential parodies.

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