SUMMARY: A startup no longer, Instagram boasts 700 million monthly active users and counting. As it grows, the free, photo-sharing mobile app is grappling with how to innovate and stay relevant, as well as how to foster a safe community. But with 95 million uploads a day, monitoring is a tall order. Judy Woodruff reports from California.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour): The rapid rise of one of the world's biggest social media networks, Instagram.
It's building up steam, with 700 million people now using it each month, and it just took four months to pick up its latest 100 million new accounts.
But along the way, the company has faced concerns over how it can be used, and even some criticism for the way it essentially copied ideas from its rival, Snapchat.
Judy Woodruff recently got an inside look during her trip to Silicon Valley.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): One of the first things that greets you inside Instagram is, no surprise, a place to take pictures. The free photo-sharing mobile app was born in 2010 with its first post, a foot in a flip-flop alongside a stray dog.
Turns out it was taken in Mexico by co-founder Kevin Systrom.
KEVIN SYSTROM, CEO and Co-Founder, Instagram: It's a mixture of teams. So, we have got design teams, we have got partnership teams, we have got a community team, and then a bunch of engineers. We don't really have an organization.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Systrom showed us around Instagram's new offices in Menlo Park, California, designed to accommodate an ever-expanding staff.
You moved here six months ago; is that right?
KEVIN SYSTROM: Yes, six months ago, we moved from the original campus. And we designed this entire experience inside here to be cleaner, and a little bit more Instagrammy. So we have got the hip wood walls, and the polished concrete floors. It's very start-uppy, but it's in an Instagram way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A start-up no longer, Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for a cool billion dollars. Then, the company had 13 employees. Now it has more than 600 to keep up with a rapidly growing user base, 700 million monthly active users and counting, 80 percent of them outside the United States.
How do you explain the phenomenal, rapid growth of this?
KEVIN SYSTROM: On Instagram, very early on, you would post an image, and anyone anywhere in the world could see that image, and understand what you were trying to say without speaking your language.
So, we like to say that Instagram was one of the first truly international networks in the world. And I think that's what's allowed it to scale to the hundreds of millions of people that use it every day today.