The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram is one of the most widely used social media platforms today. Mark Zuckerberg acquired it last April 2012 and has since grown its user base. From last June's 500 million users, Instagram jumped to 600 million by December 2016.

The platform released a series of new features that sparked some controversy due to their similarity with Snapchat. For example, Instagram Stories is considered a "Snapchat" original. This prompted people to ask whether or not releasing Snapchat-like features is the reason for Instagram's growing user base?

A Hundred Million User Growth

Instagram's strategy to adapt to users needs seems to be working well for the social media app. The number increased from 500 million to 600 million from June to December. That is 100 million more Instagrammers in a span of six months. Notable additions to the photo-sharing app are Instagram Stories, Live video, and disappearing photos and videos that might have enticed non-Instagram users to download the free app on Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Instagram and Snapchat

Some may argue that Instagram completely took over the social media popularity title from Snapchat despite the latter's puppy filter advantage. It seems that even the newly launched Snapchat Spectacle did not affect the increase of Instagram users for the half of 2016.

Today, the similarity between Instagram and Snapchat is undeniable. Instagram officials admitted that some of their ideas are not entirely original. This is true with Instagram Stories that seems like a duplicate of Snapchat's claim to fame video sharing feature. "Sometimes good ideas are good ideas," Kevin Weil, Instagram product head said. "It's a feature that makes sense to people," Weil added.

Aside from video sharing, the new Instagram Live video just rolled out in the United States allowing users from the country to stream content available for viewing anytime, anywhere. Despite the unprecedented growth of its user community, Instagram is not slacking off as it was reported that a new shopping feature might arrive on Instagram soon. The social media app is also working to make Instagram safer. To do that, developers say that they are trying to curb the problem with online trolls and cyberbullying.

Instagram's drive to beat Snapchat paid off and 100 million new signups are enough proof of that. The increase in users may not be directly associated with the copying of Snapchat features, but Instagram's dedication to making the social media platform better than Evan Spiegel's Snapchat may have been contributed to their consistent growing fan base this year.

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