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Did Instagram Really Lose 25 Percent of Its Daily Active Users? (No.)

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on December 28, 2012

People make idle threats all the time. Canada, for example, didn’t exactly see an influx of American expatriates after the 2004 and 2012 elections.

Earlier this month, Instagram users threatened en masse to leave the photo-sharing social network after the soul-stealing Terms of Service update brouhaha. But did it happen? The New York Post says it did.

According to its report, many Instagram actually made good on their promises to ditch the app. The AppData report the Post relied on suggested as many as 25 percent of Instagram users said goodbye.

The app, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion earlier this year, may have shed nearly a quarter of its daily active users in the wake of the debacle, according to figures from AppData.

“[We are] pretty sure the decline in Instagram users was due to the terms of service announcement” on Dec. 17, AppData told The Post.

Instagram, which peaked at 16.4 million active daily users the week it rolled out its policy change, had fallen to 12.4 million as of yesterday, according to the data.


But, wait, look closer. Quartz took a look at AppData and pulled a Lee Corso on the Post: “Not so fast, my friend.”

This subset might be representative, but it might not. The claim that Instagram has lost a quarter of its users isn’t supported by this data.

But more to the point, the drop in active daily users of Instagram’s application on Facebook occurred between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25, according to AppData. (Look for yourself!) Instagram released its new terms of use on Dec. 17, igniting controversy almost immediately, but AppData doesn’t show any significant decline in usage until Christmas.


“It’s not clear what caused the drop,” Quartz says, “but the Post is misleading readers when it pegs the drop to controversy over the new terms of use. Monthly and weekly active users of Instagram’s Facebook application, meanwhile, continue to rise according to AppData.”

The Verge has an update: An Instagram spokesperson reached out to let us know that AppData’s measurement is not reflective of Instagram’s true trend. “This data is inaccurate. We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram.”

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