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Snapchat becomes world’s largest photo sharing service

Users of the self-destructing message app Snapchat now upload almost as many photos and videos to the service as Facebook and Instagram users combined.

A report from Business Insider reveals that Snapchat users now upload and send 400 million photo and video messages each day, a figure that has doubled in less than six months.

In comparison, Facebook users upload around 350 million photos per day, while users of Instagram upload around 55 million.

Evan Spiegel, the 23-year-old CEO and co-founder of Snapchat, claims to have invented the ephemeral messaging service in order to bypass the rarefied atmosphere of social media, where users are too self-conscious of the photos and posts uploaded.

"People are living with this massive burden of managing a digital version of themselves," Spiegel told Forbes in an interview last year. "It's taken all of the fun out of communicating."

The astonishing growth that the company has experienced since forming just over two years ago is even more impressive given its humble beginnings. Originally a class project at Stanford University that was blasted by students as a "terrible idea", Spiegel launched Snapchat from his father's living room in September 2011 after dropping out of the college.

Within one year, the number of photos uploaded to the service had surpassed Instagram, with over 1,000 photos sent each second by millions of users.

In a blog post in June, when the number of snaps sent each day had ballooned to around 200 million, Snapchat wrote: "Social media is young, growth comes with pains, and we should keep questioning assumptions and push this new media to new limits."

Spiegel seems confident that such growth can be sustained, despite the main user base falling within the often fickle teen demographic. In a show of confidence, Snapchat's creator rebuffed a $3 billion (£2 billion) buyout of Snapchat from Facebook last week, in what would have been the social network's largest acquisition to date. Spiegel reportedly rejected the offer as he is waiting for the number of users and messages to increase in order to justify an even higher valuation.