BREAKING: Facebook to Acquire Instagram for $1 Billion

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Facebook has acquired the popular photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, but Mark Zuckerberg insists his company will keep the mobile application and the social network separate. “I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his Facebook Timeline on Monday.

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”

Zuckerberg added that Instragram will be built independently from the social network and let users post to other social networks, follow users who are not on Facebook, and to opt out of sharing on Facebook.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom reiterated Zuckerberg’s assurances in his own blog post on Monday. “It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away,” Systrom said.

The San Francisco-based Instagram will be purchased for approximately $1 billion in a combination of cash and Facebook shares. The transaction is expected to close later this quarter.

Facebook’s acquisitions in the past have always been below $100 million and Zuckerberg recognized that Instagram’s huge user base was a big factor in the deal. “This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all,” he said.

Instagram was launched in 2010 on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS mobile platform where it has more than 30 million downloads. Last week, it launched a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android version of the app and crossed the 1 million download mark within the day. More than 1 billion photos have been uploaded on the app that lets users take pictures on their mobile devices and apply special filters to them before sharing with friends through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

“We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure,” Zuckerberg added.

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