Instagram was sold to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion / LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Instagram has become one of the world's most influential social networks in just a few years

Instagram, the photo-sharing app once beloved by hipsters but now used by almost everyone, has turned five years old today.

After beginning as yet another San Francisco start-up in 2010, the site has grown massively - currently boasting around 400 million active users a month.

80 million photos are uploaded to the site every day, and it's one of the fastest-growing social networks - Facebook clearly saw the potential in the platform, buying it for $1 billion in 2012.

Although it's a great place to post your selfies, a look into Instagram's trends and developments over the last five years gives an interesting insight into this important social platform.

One Direction basically own Instagram

At least in the UK, the boys from 1D rule the roost.

The top five most popular people on Instagram in the UK are Harry Styles, David Beckham, Niall Horan, Gareth Bale and Liam Payne. 

Poor old Louis Tomlinson or former bandmate Zayn Malik don't get a look in, but three out of five isn't bad.

Increasingly, Instagram is where celebrity news happens

Rather than making an announcements through their PR people or the media, a large number of celebrities, sportspeople and political figures have begun directly communicating with their audience through Instagram.


#HeSaidYES and then #ISaidYES ❤️Thanks for all the lovely messages!

A photo posted by Tom Daley (@tomdaley1994) on


Olympic diver Tom Daley announced his engagement on the app earlier this week, Rhianna was one of several artists to release new music through Instagram before anywhere else, and Mario Testino revealed his first official pictures of Princess Charlotte through an Instagram post.

The most popular accounts all belong to women

At least on Instagram, girls run the world.

The top three most-followed people on the app are all female pop stars, all with fairly staggering numbers of followers.

Taylor Swift is in first, with 49.9 million followers. Kim Kardashian is a close second, with 48 million. 


Meredith is allergic to joy.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on


Beyoncé trails in third place, with 47.1 million.

Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande make up the rest of the top five, with around 45 milion followers each.

Some people have way too much time on their hands

For some people, posting one picture a day on Instagram would signify an unhealthy obession. Others see no problem with posting 10 pictures of their face in an hour. But some accounts take their posting to the extreme.


Thai fashion outlet, Rainy Season Shop has posted 208,000 pictures since setting up their account, apparently constantly publishing pictures every few minutes. All that effort, and they've only got 28,300 followers.

Dubai-based sales directory, @smsaruae has over 173,000 posts, and apparently focuses on selling custom number plates and luxury cars to Dubai's wealthy.

Despite its reach, Instagram was always pretty small

When Instagram was bought by Facebook, it was still a fairly small operation.

With 13 staff, only six of whom were technical workers, it's amazing that the app didn't collapse under the pressure of the 10 million active users it had at the time.


Gorgeous day.

A photo posted by Kevin Systrom (@kevin) on


Facebook's $1 billion deal actually consisted of $300 million in cash, and the rest in Facebook stock.

With the size of the company taken into account, that amounts to around $77 million per employee.

Kendall Jenner is currently winning Instagram

If the purpose of Instagram is to get the most likes (and it definitely is), then Keeping up with the Kardashians star Kendall Jenner is in the lead


A photo posted by Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner) on


A fairly normal picture of her lying on the floor with her hair arranged in the shape of hearts is currently the most popular picture on the app - it's been liked 3.1 million times at the time of writing.

It's smashed the previous record held by her half-sister, Kim Kardashian, who racked up 2.4 million likes on a picture of her wedding to Kanye West.