Instagram, or should I say – Facebook?

Intern-al Issues is a fortnightly blog written by our Intern Sean that looks at the latest issues and trends in digital marketing. Enjoy!

I have begun to notice many similarities between Instagram and Facebook that begs me to ask – Is Instagram becoming Facebook?

Instagram began as a place that allowed us to share meaningful moments with our friends. It felt different to other social media platforms. Once I started using Instagram, I began to stop posting photos to Facebook. Instagram just seemed a whole lot more private than what Facebook had become. Now, I’m not so sure if that is the case.

On April 9, 2012 Instagram sold to Facebook for $1 billion. $300 million in cash, the rest in Facebook stock. At the time of acquisition, Instagram had just 30 million users and zero revenue. Fast forward to 2018 and Instagram now has over 600 million users and is on its way to becoming a multi-billion-dollar business.

Mark Zuckerberg proved to the world that he was the Internet’s prodigal son and could simultaneously grow two social media giants at the same time.

There is really only one way to explain the soaring value of Instagram and I’m sure we have all seen plenty of them…


It was as seamless of a transition as you can get. I was scrolling through my Insta feed and one day there was an advertisement. We have become so accustomed to advertisements on social media these days that It didn’t really seem like a big deal. Actually, it felt expected.


Instagram advertisement        Suggested Instagram


But just like Paul Kelly sings in the timeless classic “from little things, big things grow”, things began to grow.

We began to see more ‘Facebook-ish-elements’ finding their way to our beloved Instagram. Sure, aesthetically Instagram still looked like Instagram. But Instagram slowly began to feel less private, and more like Facebook.

Sponsored posts and suggested posts now run rife on Instagram. But, there is one new feature that makes me believe that we are well and truly into Facebook territory.

Instagram now shows your activity status on direct messages. For example, if someone has messaged you it automatically defaults to show users if you have seen the message and when you were last online.

(FYI you can change this so no one can see your online activity – see below)

Instagram activity status

To me, Instagram is no longer the place to hide from the plethora of over-sharing options Facebook offers. It no longer feels like the secret hideout that only the cool kids know about.

It is now a direct descendent of Mr Zuckerberg and we should all prepare for more similarities to emerge to that of Facebook.

But I am warning you Zuckerberg, If I see Instagram reaction icons –  I’m out!

Sean graduated from Murdoch University in 2017 and went from intern to Account Manager with Coffey & Tea. He also contributes to Social Media Perth.