Updated: 05/16/2020 by Computer Hope

Instagram is a photo sharing and social networking service. Users can take photos or short videos, and share them with their followers. Instagram posts can also be shared on other social networks, such as Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.

Similar to Facebook, Instagram displays content in a feed format. When the user scrolls to view photos, new ones are chosen by an algorithm and appended to the end of the feed. The result is a never-ending stream of content, customized for the user.


Casual abbreviations of "Instagram" include Insta, IG, and Gram.

Accessing Instagram

Instagram is free to join and use. The service is designed primarily for mobile devices using the app for iOS, Android, or Fire OS.

On a computer, Instagram can be accessed at the Instagram website.

Instagram history

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and was first launched in October 2010. Instagram had over 30 million registered user accounts by April 2012, and users had uploaded over 100 million photos by July 2011. In April 2012, Systrom sold Instagram to Facebook for one billion dollars in cash and stock.

Additional Instagram terms and features

  • Instagram Story - A story made accessible for 24 hours. A story can include photos, videos, text, links to external sites and posts, or interactive responses and polls for follower interaction. Users can also swipe upwards on a story to respond over direct message. To access a user's story, tap their profile picture when a glowing ring appears around it.
  • Instagram filters - Similar to those found on Snapchat, Instagram filters utilize AR to add visual effects to photos and videos found on a story.
  • Direct Messages - Instagram's built-in private messaging service. To DM a user, use the paper airplane icon found in the top-right corner of the homepage of the application. DM conversations can include multiple users, and stories can be shared privately through DM conversations.
  • Instagram Live - A live streaming service made available through a user's story. Users can receive and respond to comments in real-time using Instagram live streams, and allow other users to join, displaying two camera feeds simultaneously.
  • Instagram TV - Also known as IGTV, Instagram TV is a feature included in the app for viewing videos longer than 1 minute. Unlike traditional Instagram videos, Instagram TV includes video controls such as pausing and scrubbing through the video. Videos on IGTV can be up to 60 minutes in length.

Using the desktop website, most of the same features are made available as the mobile application. Instructions for accessing these features can be applied to the desktop site or app.

App, Cell phone terms, Computer abbreviations, FOMO, Smartphone, Social network