Photo sharing app leads microblogging site with 300m users

The famous "selfie" app is now several million users ahead of Twitter, reaching more people around the world.

Instagram has taken the lead ahead of Twitter in terms of monthly active users, with 300 million people around the world using the photography-based social network.

In July this year, Twitter announced that it had 271 million active users, which is 29 million less than Instagram's latest figure. However, it also claims to have 500m less frequent users on its books.

This distinction makes it difficult to determine exactly which of the two has the largest user base, as you can never compare exactly like-for-like.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, claims 864m daily active users, making it by far the biggest social network in the world.

In a blog post, Instagram's chief executive, Kevin Systrom said: "Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day."

He also announced that the company would be launching a "verified" feature, just like Twitter, which will provide a way for users to know if celebrity accounts are real and clamping down on the "fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web".

"We've been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count," he said.

Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012 in a $1bn deal, which was its largest acquisition at the time.

Instagram also offers video sharing, ever since the feature was launched in June 2013, but they are limited to 15 seconds in length.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst with eMarketer, said: "With 300 million monthly users, Instagram's audience is becoming very attractive to marketers, especially brand advertisers, and its rapid growth will only make it more appealing.

"Instagram's ad business is still very new and has a lot of growing up to do - for example, its targeting capabilities are still very limited - but the company's new authentication initiatives send a message to the ad community that their followers will be real entities and that the impressions they receive will not be fakes or bots."

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