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Facebook yanks Instagram usage data from public view

The social network now no longer reveals standalone data for its photo-sharing service, just weeks after a flap over whether those numbers showed a major loss of Instagram users.


Facebook has pulled Instagram traffic from public view, according to a story out yesterday from TechCrunch.

Instagram's page on AppData, which reports user numbers based on data obtained through Facebook's API, now states that "Facebook no longer reports new data for this application."

As an example cited by TechCrunch, Instagram showed 45.8 million monthly active users on January 7 as measured by Facebook logins. That number was zero as of yesterday.

Facebook told TechCrunch that the move was designed to bring Instagram in accord with its other apps, which don't appear separately in AppData.

"We don't provide app usage metrics for apps owned or created by Facebook through our API," a spokesperson told TechCrunch. "We've updated our API to reflect this for Instagram, which would remove it from AppData's rankings."

The move follows a mess of controversy that hit Facebook and Instagram last month.

Instagram ticked off many of its users in December after posting new policy guidelines claiming it had the right to sell their photos. Following a public outcry, the company removed the language in question and promised it would not sell its members' photos.

A subsequent story from the New York Post said that the policy flap caused Instagram to lose almost 25 percent of its active users. The Post ran its story after someone at AppData claimed to be "pretty sure" the decline was due to changes in the terms of service. However, an AppData representative told CNET that the quote was "not authorized for publication."

AppData itself refused to stand behind the Post's claim, saying instead that the decline in users was likely the result of the holiday season and not anger over the policy snafu.

Still, with Instagram no longer counted separately in Facebook's data, its usage numbers have become a bit less transparent and thus more challenging to track.