Last updated: April 19, 2012 - 11:57pm
When Facebook bought the photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, theories flew as to what it might mean. Was Mark Zuckerberg defensive, worried that his 850 million Facebook users might stop uploading 250 million photos a day? Or was he making a proactive move into mobile, where Instagram’s friendly interface makes Facebook look clunky on iPhones? The real story is both -- and one of splintering social networks that are breaking up the vast, open “social graphs” that give Facebook and others such power. Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram is a signal that smaller, closed networks are growing popular by giving audiences more control over what they share. The networking giants, such as Facebook and Google, will have to allow consumers new ways to build tighter social circles. And marketers will face new challenges in “going viral” among the masses.
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