“We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook,” Zuckerburg.

Instagram is a free application that allows users to apply 17 filters to the pictures they take – changing the colour balance to give the images a different feel – before they are uploaded.

It has more than 30 million users uploading more than 5 million new pictures every day.

But the move has caused a backlash from Instagram fans concerned that Facebook will use its newly acquired data to target them with advertisements.

Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, said: ‘It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.’

But many Instagram users went on to Twitter to share instructions on how to delete their accounts.

One posted: ‘Here’s how you delete your Instagram account. Sadly there’s not a “because you sold out” option.’