Washington: Facebook will purchase the popular photo sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced.
"For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Monday.
"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."
He assured people that Instagram would remain a relatively independent entity. Users will still be able to post photos to other social networks and opt out of posting them on Facebook altogether, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
"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," the post said.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom released a statement on the company blog, further assuring users that while the companies will be joining forces, Facebook won't monopolize Instagram. Instead, they say, each will help the other flourish.
"It's important to be clear that Instagram is not going away," he wrote. "We'll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We'll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience."
Instagram rose to popularity after its October 2010 release and now has 30 million iPhone users, as well as at least one million on Android, according to the Monitor.