Instagram eclipses Twitter
In a blogpost Wednesday, Instagram announced that it reached 300 million active users, eclipsing Twitter’s most recently reported 284 million users.
Launched for Apple’s iPhone in 2010 and made for Android in 2012, the app has grown rapidly – it reached 100 million users in February 2013, 200 million users in March 2014, and just nine months later has reached 300 million users who share over 70 million photos and videos per day.
As the app continues to grow, management is working on a more streamlined, kink-free version. That includes the announcement from CEO Kevin Systrom that the company will crack down on fake accounts and preserve the authenticity of the app.
“Finally, as more people join, keeping Instagram authentic is critical — it’s a place where real people share real moments. We’re committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web, and that’s why we’re finishing up some important work that began earlier this year,” he said in the company’s official blogpost.
Tweaks will include verified badges for accounts so users know they are following the correct celebrity or brand, rather than a faker in disguise.
While some users are not happy about advertising on the platform, Instagram’s recent move to allow ads is necessary for growth, the social media giant said. It needs the revenue to cope with new users and expand the platform.
Microsoft endorses bitcoin
Microsoft announced earlier this week that it would be partnering with Bitpay, a bitcoin payment processor, that will allow xBox users to purchase content, add apps and services to Windows phones or buy any other Microsoft software.
Microsoft is not accepting bitcoins directly – instead, Bitpay will accept the digital currency and convert it into dollars for Microsoft, according to the Wall Street Journal. Still, Microsoft’s semi-adoption of the bitcoin concept is a ringing endorsement for the currency.
Microsoft is not the first to accept bitcoin as a form of payment – companies like Paypal, Dell, Expedia, and Newegg have also forayed into that sphere. But it is most definitely the biggest company to use bitcoin and according to Bitpay CEO Tony Gallippi, the “best endorsement of bitcoin to date.”
“The use of digital currencies as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts,” Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, said in the blog post, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend.”
Bitcoin payments are currently limited to the Windows store and stores that house Xbox content, seemingly targeting a younger male demographic.
It’s been a tumultuous week for Uber. Earlier this month, the taxi-hailing app raised a second round of $1.2 billion from unknown investors for expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. Valued at a staggering $40 billion plus, the company is in the midst of an explosive growth phase.
However, success has not come without its setbacks, as Uber’s disruption of the conventional taxi market has alienated cab drivers across the globe.
Earlier this week, a judge ordered the app to halt its services in Spain after seeing taxi associations erupt in a series of protests.
This blow comes right on the back of another incident in New Delhi, in which a local Uber driver allegedly raped his female passenger. After the arrest of the driver, Delhi authorities banned all internet-based taxi services and Uber suspended operations in the region.
“We are sorry and deeply saddened by what happened over the weekend in New Delhi. Our hearts go out to the victim of this horrible crime. We have been [doing] and will continue to do everything in our power to assist the authorities to help bring the perpetrator to justice,” Uber India said in a statement.
The San Francisco based company has also faced criticism closer to home. The city of Portland is sueing the app for failing to comply with the city’s licensing rules for for-hire cars.
Since its launch in 2009, Uber has experienced unprecedented growth. It operates in more than 250 cities across 50 countries, but clearly the app is facing constraints both home and globally as taxi drivers fight back.
It’s doubtful growth will slow as the car-hailing app has really gained a global foothold – in fact, Uber just received a huge boost for its projects in China , but it will be facing discontent on multiple fronts as it continues to expand.
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