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Facebook closes Instagram deal, welcomes its 5B shared photos

It's official -- the social network giant now owns the popular photo-sharing service. Facebook says Instagram isn't going anywhere.

With Facebook's purchase of Instagram officially closed, the social network giant welcomed the photo-network's community today.

In the message, the two companies promised that "Instagram isn't going anywhere" and said they would work to improve the app for the community, which has shared over 5 billion photos over the network so far.

"As we said from the beginning, we are committed to building and growing Instagram independently," Facebook's Mike Schroepfer wrote in the message. "Instagram will continue to serve its community, and we will help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook's strong engineering team and infrastructure. We also can't wait to work with the talented Instagram team to improve the mobile experience."

The Instagram team also weighed in on the finalized deal with promises of a better Instagram for all:

What makes this even more exciting is that our deal with Facebook has closed, which means we can now work together to evolve and build a better Instagram for everyone. While our team is making the short move to the Facebook offices, Instagram isn't going anywhere. The Instagram app and its features will stay the same one you know and love, and we'll keep working together to build a better Instagram for everyone.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg struck the deal with Instagram for $300 million in cash and just under 23 million shares -- an offer valued at $1 billion at the time. At Facebook's current stock price, the deal is now valued at $736.5 million.

Instagram, one of the fastest growing mobile apps in history, surpassed 80 million users in less than two years. Facebook's surprise move to acquire the app underscored Zuckerberg's eagerness to expand the social network's mobile strategy, as well as to protect Facebook's own photo-sharing features from an increasingly successful competitor -- in this case, by acquiring it.

Updated at 9:06 a.m. PT with more background.