Facebook buys Instagram, a picture is worth $1 billion

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Monday that Facebook agreed to acquire photo-sharing app Instagram. The deal was made for $1 billion in cash and stock.

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests,” Zuckerberg posted on Facebook.

Zuckerberg called the deal an “important milestone for Facebook.” He said this is the first time Facebook has ever acquired a product with so many users.

Founded in 2010 by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Instagram has just a handful of employees supporting its wildly popular photo app. The long-awaited Android version, released last week, racked up more than 1 million downloads in just 12 hours.

Facebook likes to scoop up hot startups, kill their products, and redeploy their staff on other projects. That’s definitely not the plan for Instagram, all the players insist.

“It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away,” Instagram’s founders wrote on their company blog. “We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.”

Zuckerberg pressed the point.

“We’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” the CEO said. “Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.”

Facebook, which is in the process of going public, ended 2011 with a cash stash just shy of $4 billion.

(The CNN wire contributed to this report)

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