Faux Outrage

Reports That Instagram Lost 25 Percent of Active Users Are Greatly Exaggerated

Let's wait until the holidays are over to make snap app judgments.
(Photo: Instagram)

(Photo: Instagram)

“Rage Against Rules,” declares a bolded headline in The New York Post today, which collected stats from App Data to paint a portrait of a flailing Instagram. The Post claims that following the terms of service debacle, which supposedly had both normals and celebrities fleeing the app, Instagram’s total active users has plunged 25 percent.

The app reportedly peaked at 16.4 million daily active users the week of Dec. 17, but has decreased to 12.4 million as of Dec. 27.

“[We are] pretty sure the decline in Instagram users was due to the terms of service announcement,” a spokesperson for AppData told the Post.

However, as Quartz reminds everyone, AppData only collects information on a subset of Instagram users: those who have connected their Facebook account. Thus, “The claim that Instagram has lost a quarter of its users isn’t supported by this data.” What’s more despite the well-documented outrage, it seems unlikely that a dip in daily active users, even those who connect through Facebook, is due to Instagram’s terms of service fumble. The TOS change was on the 17th and the decline shown by AppData doesn’t happen until Christmas.

Couldn’t it be that, due to the holidays, people are actually spending time with their families, disconnecting from their devices and trying to, like, enjoy relaxing without documenting every single moment? From the looks of our own Instagram feed, it certainly is moving at a slower pace than usual, barring the occasional snap of smiling families and freshly unwrapped presents.

In fact, Instagram isn’t alone in bleeding daily active users this week. The Next Web reports that many Facebook-connected apps have seen drops in users this week, including Spotify (9.9 percent down), Farmville (15.5 percent down) and Pinterest (27.5 percent down).

Perhaps we all need to take another sip of that spiked eggnog and be thankful people are still capable of disconnecting from the Facebook apps that dominate our lives every other week of the year.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com