Social networking giant Facebook has announced that it is to buy photo-sharing Smartphone app Instagram.
The company will pay $1 billion (£629million) for the app in cash and stock.
Instagram, which was launched in October 2010 was originally only for iPhone but has recently been launched on the Android operating service. It allows users to alter their photos by changing the colour balance, to give their photos a new feel before uploading them onto the app.
Since its launch it has proved to incredibly popular and boasts 30 million users with a combined total of 5 million uploads per day.
Tech investor Paul Kedrosky, who is also the author of Greed blog told the BBC: “I understand Instagram has 13 employees – so at $77m a head that makes it the most expensive business deal in history that I can think of.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive revealed that the company would develop Instagram as a separate brand, thus allowing users to post to rival networks.
He wrote on his Facebook page: “We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience.
“We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.”
Zuckerberg later added: “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. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”