Instagram Has 300M Monthly Users, Starts Verifying Real Ones

Photo Service to Delete Spam Accounts and Authenticate Brand Accounts

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Brands like Teen Vogue will start receiving verification badges on Instagram.
Brands like Teen Vogue will start receiving verification badges on Instagram.

A lot of people use Instagram. 300 million, in fact.

Instagram announced on Wednesday that 300 million people check out the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service each month. That's up from 200 million nine months ago and 100 million in February 2013 and roughly zero when Instagram launched in October 2010.

There are, however, likely to be even more Instagram accounts than there are people using the service. Some people may set up fake accounts to parody celebrities. Others may do so to spam users with links to fake sites, perhaps as a way to juice all those fake pageviews ballooning advertisers' budgets or to archive the pictures people post and trade them off as their own elsewhere. Or for worse reasons.

Instagram is starting to do away with these fake accounts. The company said it has begun deleting them, which means some Instagram users may see the number of people following them shrink. Anyone who sees some shrinkage in follower numbers should receive a notification from Instagram explaining why that happened.

"As more people and businesses join, keeping Instagram authentic is critical. We're committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague many of the growing communities on the web, and that's why we're finishing up some important work that began earlier this year," Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wrote in a company blog post announcing the news.

In addition to trimming fake accounts, Instagram will start authenticating real ones, starting with brands and public figures likely to be impersonated. As Twitter and Facebook have done, Instagram will pin verification badges on those users' accounts profiles in the coming days.

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