Facebook's Instagram buy to face regulatory questions

Posted by Mark Raby

Hold your horses - that billion-dollar Instagram acquisition has to face some hoops before it becomes official.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has started an investigation into the buyout, and whether or not it actually finds a problem it could delay the deal by as much as a year.

The FTC plans to question Google and Twitter, in addition to other Facebook competitors.

Instagram is a photo sharing app that gained massive popularity on the iPhone because of its intuitive user interface, seamless integration with the iPhone's camera, and the speed at which it uploads content.

For many, it became the de facto way to share pictures with fellow iPhone users. And as to be expected, there was a bit of backlash when Instagram said it would be moving to Android as well.

Part of the app's appeal was its exclusivity. For some, it felt like if Blackberry Messenger somehow made its way to the iPhone.

But Instagram is a free agent and can make apps for whatever platform it wants. And the vast majority of users don't care one way or the other. In fact, to many others, it is a move that's welcomed and embraced because it allows their reach to be greatly expanded.

Before being purchased by Facebook, Instagram had been downloaded more than 30 million times on the App Store, and Apple named it the best iPhone app of 2011.

Since the acquisition was announced, user numbers have skyrocketed.