10 years of Instagram: how it has transformed our lives

Sarah Frier is a tech reporter based in San Francisco who has watched the meteoric rise of Instagram, from its humble beginnings as a startup with a handful of employees to becoming a $100bn company. She talks to Rachel Humphreys about how the photo-sharing platform has become the most influential app of the past decade.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder, was 25 when he started his company with his friend, software engineer Mike Krieger. Systrom realised there was a gap in the market for an app that helped people quickly share pictures from phones, and with Instagram the app would also offer filters that people could use to make their photos – and by extension, their lives – look more appealing. In 2012, with just 13 employees, the company was bought by Facebook for $1bn. With the introduction of Instagram Stories, its growth accelerated, but the relationship between the two companies was complicated and Systrom and Krieger eventually left Instagram in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg now controls two of the most important social media networks in our lives.

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Instagram logo on phone



Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

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