Thanksgiving photos bombard Instagram

Jeremy C. Owens / San Jose Mercury News /

Photo-sharing service Instagram announced Friday that Thanksgiving was its busiest day yet, with users sharing their family meals at such a rapid clip that more than 10 million photos related to Turkey Day were posted.

Pictures were uploaded at such a furious pace that Instagram surpassed 200 photos a second for a period of several hours in the middle of the day on the West Coast.

“Overall, the day broke all Instagram records as we saw the number of shared photos more than double from the day before, making it our busiest day so far,” the company said in a blog post.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion — though that price fell as a portion was paid in Facebook stock, which declined between the acquisition agreement and actual purchase — previously said that Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast last month, was its busiest photo-sharing event.

“Sandy was the single largest event captured on Instagram — and the largest event captured on cellphones ever,” CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom said at an event hosted by tech blog GigaOM on Nov. 5 in San Francisco.

But the numbers for the superstorm paled in comparison with the Thanksgiving results Instagram shared Friday. Systrom said that users uploaded 800,000 pictures with the hashtag #Sandy, with peak uploads reaching about 10 pictures a second, numbers that were trounced Thursday.

In his talk earlier this month, Systrom said the faster rate at which Instagram is receiving photos will likely lead the company into some “Big Data” techniques in order to analyze all of it.

“How do we mine all these photos, make sense of them so you can consume the most interesting photos?” Systrom asked the crowd, later answering, “We’re going to need to be a big data company.”