Did Instagram Really Lose 25% of Users?

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Instagram lost 4 million of its 16.4 million daily active users over the Christmas holiday, according to the usage trend monitors at AppData — but let’s not jump to conclusions.The New York Post connects the (incomplete) data to last week’s revolt against Instagram’s new terms of service, but looking at AppData’s graph below, the dip doesn’t quite match up with the rage. (Update 12:21 p.m.: Facebook has denied the trend, because of course it would. “This data is inaccurate. We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram,” the company said in a statement to The Verge. Read on for why we think that might just be true.)

Instagram got everyone all freaked out around December 17, a day when AppData, whose “numbers reflect trends in usage” rather than exact user counts, actually shows an increase. Could the drop in users have to do with the holidays? Everyone posted turkeys on Thanksgiving and presents on Christmas, plus the controversy sustained itself long enough that test family dinner-table conversations about Instagram — or, you know, some time away from your phone and some more time spent with said family — might be enough to amount to this kind of drop-off:

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