Instagram, the massively popular photo-sharing application on the iPhone, looks set to be purchased by Facebook in a landmark deal.
Facebook will reportedly shell out a billion dollars in cash and stock (about £630,000) for the service that will see it become the social network giant’s biggest acquisition to date.
Run - somewhat astoundingly - by just six people, Instagram has amassed an impressive 30 million-strong community since first landing on iOS in 2010. The company recently launched an Android app, which is sure to boost that figure exponentially in the months ahead.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, said: "For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family.
“Now, we'll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”
Zuckerberg was keen to stress, however, that Facebook has no intention of gobbling up the service, as it has done for numerous start-ups, and plans to let it operate as an independent entity.
"We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
"That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people."
Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom echoed this sentiment, revealing that things will carry on as usual.
"The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You'll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you. You'll still be able to share to other social networks. And you'll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique."