After trying to debunk holiday-season reports that its terms-of-service scandal had cost it 25 percent of its "daily active users" over Christmas weekend, Instagram on Thursday released an updated data set claiming those numbers were half-baked. Whereas the New York Post reported by way of an outside firm that the photo-sharing service dropped from 16.4 million daily active users to 12.4 million in the course of four days, the new Instagram statistics says the app has 90 million monthly active users. That's the first time Instagram has released such a number, but co-founder Kevin Systrom assured AllThingsD's Mike Issac that it represents "very strong growth across the world.
Instagram also now says that those 90 million people post 40 million photos per day and tap 8,500 likes per second, says Instagram. So, yes, there's still devotion, but is there real growth to track since Facebook's $1 billion acquisition last year? Or a real drop-off since Instagram's sell-out move last month? Without previous internal data for comparison, that's tough to tell. As of last September, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Instagram had 100 million users. But total users and active users are different, and monthly active users are different than people who head to the app every single day. Those outrageous reports of 25- and even 50-percent drops represented daily users. Instagram didn't offer those figures today — and never has. People who used to visit the site obsessively might have found somewhere else to take their pictures every day while Instagram was busy threatening to sell their pictures as Facebook ads — somewhere like Flickr. Then again, 40 million photos per day probably do have to come from a lot of people.
As far as other non-rival apps go, Instagram doesn't have an outrageous number of monthly users. For comparison, Rovio, the game-maker behind Angry Birds recently reported 263 million monthly active users. LinkedIn had 133 million active users, as of last month. It's also a tiny fraction of Facebook's 1 billion monthly active users. But these numbers are supposed to suggest that Instagram didn't screw up all that badly so as to induce a mass exodus of people. And that drop-off is still pretty unclear.