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Facebook (FB): Instagram to start showing photo and video ads

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing app owned by Facebook Inc., says it will start showing "occasional" photo and video advertisements in the coming months.

It's Instagram's first step toward making money. While users can already follow brands and businesses, part of the app's appeal has been its simplicity and, for some, a lack of advertisements.

To ease users into seeing ads, the company said in a blog post Thursday that it will focus on showing "a small number" of "high-quality photos and videos" from a handful of brands.

Facebook bought Instagram last fall for $715.3 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. The app has more than 150 million users and is especially popular with teenagers and young adults.

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You can read the post from Instagram about the reasoning behind the decision below (or at the following link: http://blog.instagram.com/post/63017560810/instagramasagrowingbusiness)

Over the past three years we’ve watched with amazement as Instagram has grown to a global community of more than 150 million people capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram is a place where people come to connect and be inspired, and our focus with every product we build is keeping it this way.

We have big ideas for the future, and part of making them happen is building Instagram into a sustainable business. In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States. Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.

Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands. After all, our team doesn’t just build Instagram, we use it each and every day. We want these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.

We’ll also make sure you have control. If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right. We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.

As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more details. We’re excited to continue building Instagram alongside this inspiring community.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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