The social media scene has gotten very competitive over the past few years. With well over 700,000,000 users from all corners of the globe, you´d easily think Facebook doesn´t have to flex its muscles anymore. However, those who share that sentiment were left speechless after it was announced that Facebook would buy Instagram for double its estimated value.

Facebook has shown no signs of giving up its hard earned top spot in the wake of unprecedented competition, but this is a move that very few viewed as feasible. So why exactly did Facebook pay $1 billion for a photo sharing service and what does this acquisition mean for Pinterest?

The Rise of Instagram

Instagram has steadily established itself as one of the most popular online photo sharing services. Despite starting out exclusively on the iPhone platform, its audience grew relatively fast over the first few months. The major breakthrough however only came after Instagram for Android was launched. This opened the doors to a massive Android market. The end result was a service that seen its estimated value shoot from $100 million a few months ago to well over $500 million. The news of Facebook buying Instagram left many wondering why the shrewd Mark Zuckerberg was willing to purchase it for twice its estimated value.

Why Facebook Bought Instagram

While announcing the acquisition, Zuckerberg was keen to point out that the move was aimed at providing the best photo sharing experience for Facebook and other social network users, a claim Pinterest will be quick to challenge. Although the prospect of buying a photo service with an enviable 50 million users would interest many, very few would consider paying twice its estimated value. Many industry insiders believe the aqquisition was the result of Facebook fearing for its longevity.

Facing stiff competition from Twitter and other social networks, Facebook´s major hope of survival was the perfect platform it offered for sharing photos. However, with Instagram gaining tens of millions of users after budding from the iPhone shell, Facebook for the very first time started to fear for its existence. Facebook´s dominance has been fueled by mobile photo sharing, so there was no way it would just sit back and watch its authority be usurped.

Why Pinterest Should Be Worried

Pinterest is renowned globally as one of the most popular pinboard-style photo sharing websites. It allows users to design and manage image collections from their interests, events, hobbies and so much more. Is its status set to change after Facebook takes over control of Instagram? Despite being valued at a billion dollars by Facebook owners, the reality is that Instagram was still some way behind Pinterest. However, things could change over the next few months, especially with the ability of Instagram to integrate with the uncontested king of social media.

If you analyze this development keenly, you will realize that Facebook and Instagram needed each other equally. Facebook has many users but no soul, something Instagram offers with its personalized photo sharing. This may not be the plan, but Pinterest will barely stand a chance if the two were to be integrated such that users will only need a single login. Worse still, Instagram could be re-branded into a better version of Pinterest.