The best (and worst) of Instagram in 2013

Justin Bieber tops Instagram and Kim Kardashian sets a new social trend

This year Instagram followed Facebook's path of success, growing from strength to strength by launching new tools, such as videos, and capturing over 152 million users who upload an average total of 65 million photos every day.

In December 2012, the photo-sharing site announced it had updated its privacy policy, giving Instagram the right to sell users’ photos to advertisers without notification and without any sort of compensation. Basically, since January this year, Instagram owns the photos of its million users.

At the time, users called the new policy a “suicide note” thinking it would be the end for the app that was bought by Facebook for $1bn (£614m). However, the world’s need-to-share personal photos and the so called “selfie” - named the word of 2013 by Oxford Dictionary- didn’t stop the app’s growth.

The app has sparked social trends and given the public unprecedented access to their big heroes, celebrities and even preferred politicians. Instagram has brought us selfies, belfies, healthies, #tbt and many more social trends.

This week the app launched Instagram Direct, letting users share photos and videos with a select group of up to 15 friends. Following this announcement, the platform will be even busier in 2014 as Facebook has plans for the photo-sharing app to compete with Snapchat and its 400 million daily “snaps”.

See below the most popular posts and hashtags of the year:

1. Most liked photo on Instragram:  Justin Bieber’s  “Me and Uncle Will”

Instagram couldn’t escape from the Bieber Fever. The young pop star has over 12 million followers and his photo with Fresh Price Of Bel-Air’s Will Smith was ranked the top image of the year, which received almost 1.5million likes.

2. The most popular hashtag of 2013: #Love  

Hashtags have become ubiquitous in the social media. After Twitter’s hashtag madness, Instagram followed. This year more than 371 million posts on its platform include #love. Other top hashtags include #tbt (throw back Thursday), #girl, #friends, #food and #summer.

3. Top Instagram City: New York City, USA

The California-based service is more popular in New York than in Los Angeles (geotagged top 3). The top cities worldwide that follow are Bangkok, Los Angeles, London, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Diego, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

4. Record usage day: Thanksgivukkah

For the first time in more than 100 years Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrations overlapped. Instagram users posted photos and videos on 28 November more than any other day in the platform’s history.

5. The new (and least favourite) Instagram trend: #Belfie

The picture of Kim Kardashian wearing a sexy white swimsuit and posing her bum to her camera went viral across the world and was the motif for the creation of one of the top hashtags of the year #Belfie (bum selfie). The future Mrs West is also known for her voluptuous silhouette.

6. Top British Instagrammer: Cara Delevigne: The supermodel has taken over the catwalks across the globe, and most recently she was seen walking the runway with the Victoria’s Secret Angels. The supermodel shares her life and travels on Instagram. She posts her new tattoos, her friendships with “wifey” Rita Ora, photos snogging Sienna Miller, wearing animal onesies, backstage insights and plenty of pictures of her tongue. All these have gained Delevingne over 2.9million followers. She knows that the Instagram masses are looking for.