Updated: 12/10/2023 by Computer Hope
Instagram logo

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.

Like 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, Inst, IG, and Gram.


Instagram was featured as a top term of 2011.

Accessing Instagram

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

On a computer, Instagram is accessible at the Instagram official website.

Instagram history

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and was 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 Meta (Facebook's parent company) 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 to a direct message. To access a user's story, tap their profile picture when a glowing ring appears around it.
  • instagrammer - A person or company on Instagram that can be followed.
  • Face filters - Like those found on Snapchat, Instagram utilizes AR lenses to add visual effects to photos and videos found on a story.
  • Instagram filters - Pre-made photo filters that can be applied to photos before they are posted. Users can also adjust the opacity to choose how much each photo will be affected.
  • 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 application's homepage. In September 2021, Instagram was integrated with the existing Facebook Messenger platform, allowing you to message cross-platform with Messenger users using the DM feature.
  • 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.
  • Instagram Reels - Introduced in August 2021, Instagram Reels is the app's answer to competitors like TikTok. By tapping on the central Reels icon at the bottom of the interface, users can access short, portrait-oriented videos created using a library of sounds from creators and musicians.

Using the desktop website, most of the same features are available as with the mobile app. Instructions for accessing these features apply to the desktop site or app.

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