Today is Instagram’s 10th birthday.
Turning double digits is a big deal, so we’re looking back on the app’s 10 most shocking moments, in chronological order (like the algorithm we’d all secretly like back).
The birth of Instagram – October 6 2010
The photo-sharing social platform was launched by co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and in its first day racked up 25,000 users. By mid-December that year, Instagram had reached one million users, slowly becoming the world’s favourite photo-sharing platform.
The billion dollar deal – April 2012
After just shy of two years, Facebook bought Instagram in a billion dollar deal. Reports speculated that Facebook had bought the app out of fear of Twitter, who had made a $500 million dollar offer to Instagram.
The first virtual influencer joins Instagram – April 2016
We’ve heard the conspiracy of robots taking over the world, but how about taking over Instagram? Lil Miquela was among Instagram’s first ‘virtual influencers’ and has grown incredibly popular with over 2.7M followers. While Lil Miquela may be computer-generated, she’s ‘hung out’ with celebs, collaborated with brands like Calvin Klein, Prada and Samsung – and even casts shadows in her content.
Instagram has a makeover – May 2016
Users had grown fond of the famous retro polaroid camera that was Instagram’s original logo. So when the platform revamped its icon, users were skeptical. Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design said the change was to make the app feel more reflective of the creative community on Instagram. Now the bright orange and purple gradient icon is just as iconic and the original.
Bye-bye chronological feed – June 2016
Instagram’s change in algorithm was one of the app’s most controversial updates. The removal of the chronological feed caused an uproar among Instagram’s global community, as users saw Instagram feeds out of whack – posts from two days ago were showing up first, before a post shared two hours ago. What is the logic in that?
Well, the logic behind it is that Instagram wants popular posts, relevant to you and your interests to show up first in your feed, regardless of when this content was shared. For example, posts from creators who you frequently interact with will show up in your feed, before a post from your school friend who you haven’t spoken to in years, and occasionally like their posts. Despite the logic, some still aren’t over it.
The first time Instagram came for a competitor – August 2016
When Instagram launched their version of Stories, they were accused of copying Snapchat’s Story feature. At a year old, Snapchat had 10 million users worldwide everyone was using the Story feature on the disappearing-photo app, including celebrities.
Fast forward to 2020 and Instagram Stories now has over 500 million daily users, whereas Snapchat Stories has just 190 million total daily users.
Kylie Jenner sets a record – February 2018
After months of speculation and hiding from the spotlight, Kylie Jenner announced the birth of her daughter, Stormi Webster with an Instagram post. With over 18.5 million likes, the photo became the most liked Instagram post of all time. Kylie has 196 million followers on Instagram, making her one of the most-followed celebs on the app.
The World Record Egg – January 2019
It only took 11-months before Jenner’s record-breaking baby announcement was overtaken by an egg. Yep, you heard that right, a stock image of an egg broke the record for the most liked Instagram photo, with 54.7 million likes, and counting. The post from @world_record_egg, was simply shared to “set a world record and get the most liked post on Instagram” and it did just that.
The controversial removal of likes – May 2019
Unlike the removal of the chronological feed, the disappearance of likes was generally supported by the Instagram community, as the change was aimed at improving wellbeing in hopes it will “reduce anxiety among Instagram users, to make social media less of a competition, especially for the younger generation.” The app started removing likes in Canada and since then has expanded to several more countries including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and the US. Although likes have been publicly removed, users can still view their likes using their Insights.
Jennifer Aniston temporarily breaks Instagram – October 2019
Friends fans were treated with a major surprise when Jennifer Aniston finally joined Instagram and ‘broke’ the app with her first Instagram photo – a selfie of her and former Friends co-stars. The influx of engagement her account received in such a short amount of time caused users to be temporarily unable to follow her. However, she made a new record to becoming the fastest user to reach one million followers, in just over five hours. Aniston’s very next post referenced the issue with a caption, “I swear I didn’t mean to break it…Thank you guys for the kind, glitchy welcome.”
Less than one year later, it was Sir David Attenborough setting the new record. His arrival on the platform in September 2020 beat Jennifer Aniston’s record to one million followers, in just under four hours.