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Instagram gives Facebook 5 million reasons to love recent acquisition

The new Android app from Instagram, which was recently gobbled up by Facebook, has racked up 5 million downloads. 

By Matthew Shaer / April 11, 2012

Instagram, seen here on an Android phone, has proved extremely popular among users of the Google mobile platform.

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Earlier this week, Facebook announced the acquisition of photo-sharing hub Instagram. The price tag? A reported $1 billion in stock options and cash, a hefty chunk of change even for a company that could soon be valued at $100 billion.

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In a message to users, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg maintained that although Facebook and Instagram offered very "different experiences, that the two platforms would "complement each other." 

"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," Zuckerberg wrote. "We don't plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together." 

Plenty of analysts thought Team Facebook was nuts. (The deal, wrote one, "was an indication that Facebook does not have what it takes to stay in business.") 

But today comes news that Facebook may have been prescient in gobbling up Instagram. According to VentureBeat, the new Instagram Android application tallied up a million downloads in the first 24 hours it was available. And it wasn't just a quick burst of interest, either – over six days, downloads of the Android app topped five million. "Insta-growth," VentureBeat called it. (30 million users already reportedly access Instagram through Apple's iOS.) 

The question now is whether Instagram can continue to thrive under Facebook control, points out Mike Isaac of Wired. 

"Upon any relatively small startup being absorbed by a larger company, there’s almost always change in structure, workflow and even long-term product goals," Isaac writes. "While both Mark Zuckerberg and Burbn CEO Kevin Systrom both promised that Instagram would continue as the standalone brand and product it is now, it’s difficult to imagine that the social giant’s influence won’t affect Instagram’s evolution at all."

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