In April 2012, Facebook bought a trendy photo-posting app called Instagram for $1 billion. Today, Instagram is estimated to be worth $35 billion.
The new figure comes courtesy of Citi, which attributed the valuation to “faster audience growth as well as continued monetization gains by social media properties.” It’s not just for brunch and cheesy filters anymore.
Indeed, Instagram is growing—and fast. This week, the service announced that it hit the 300 million user mark, and did so while also purging itself of fake accounts, causing its most-followed celebrities—like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber—to lose millions of followers. (Thanks to the purge, Kardashian now has more followers than Bieber.) The rapper Mase, after seeing 1.5 million of his followers vaporized, deleted his account.
“We’re not a photography company,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told Fast Company last year. “We think about photos like, This is your tweet; this is your status update.”