Back in December, Instagram reported that it had passed the 300 million monthly user mark and in doing so had officially outmuscled Twitter's 284 million user count. However, it looks as if the photo-sharing site was a little premature.
GlobalWebIndex measures Facebook's user base as being 81% of 16-to-64-year-olds with internet access.
However, in third place, just behind YouTube, is Twitter, which leads Google+ in fourth place in terms of active users and Instagram (down in fifth place) in terms of both active users and account numbers.
GlobalWebIndex's figures, which are based on interviews with over 170,000 internet users 16 and over in 32 countries, also found that in 30 or the 32 countries it surveyed, Twitter was ahead of Instagram for active usage -- only in Sweden and Hong Kong is Instagram more popular.
There's no denying the speed with which Instagram has grown. The network is only four years old and when it first launched it was only as an iPhone app. Its website and its support for Android are both very recent developments.
However, not all of that growth has been organic. Within days of Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom's taking to the company's blog to announce it had surpassed the 300 million user milestone, the company admitted it had a serious spam account problem and purged millions of fake users from the site.
GlobalWebIndex points to this spam purge as one of the reasons why its survey paints such a different picture of the social media landscape. It describes Instagram as a ‘third-tier' social network that, along with networks like Pinterest and LinkedIn, is trying to build up the user numbers and engagement needed to break into the second tier, currently occupied by Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.