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Yesterday the internet was ablaze with a particularly scandalous social media scandal. Everyone's favourite art-y, hispter-y type James Franco allegedly sent a bunch of private Instagram messages and texts to a 17-year-old girl from Scotland asking her to meet up with him.

The girl, named Lucy Clode, was apparently staying in New York with her mum and snapped a shot of James on her travels. She uploaded it to Instagram and the rest is salacious internet shame gold.

Soon after they were sent, the messages from James to Lucy were posted to Imgur by an unknown source (they've now been deleted) and here's a little sample:

james-franco-creeper-big.jpg

Smooth, right?

Now it's not unusual for a guy to use social media to act all creepy in order to get a girl to meet up with him. We're pretty sure all sexes, ages and professions have been on the receiving end of internet creepers.

But guys, this is JAMES FRANCO. Not only is he 18 years older than Lucy and coming across as one helluva desperate creep hitting on a 17-year-old, but he lives and breathes social media, so wouldn't he know that this kind of behaviour is 99% guaranteed to blow up in his face?

Well, the plot thickens because it turns out this is all interesting timing. The trailer for Palo Alto, a new movie starring non-other than Mr. Instagram Creeper himself, has just been released and it's all about his role as a a soccer coach who has a fling with one of his young female students. Isn't that just too much of a coincidence? Could this all be just a big (and still kinda creepy) PR stunt? Or could this just be a very handy alibi?

Either way Twitter has (shockingly) reacted very strongly, many are calling him out for his weird and creepy behaviour, some scarily young teenagers are asking that he try it on with them and others are attacking Lucy because apparently to some this whole thing is actually all her fault. Sigh.

James' reaction? A bunch of cryptic tweets about how parents should keep their kids away from him. Hmm, this could go down as one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of our time.


instagram-lux-slider.jpgInstagram fans will know exactly what Lux is - that little sunshine icon in the bottom right of your edit screen - a feature that once you press it strengthens your photos with more contrast and intense colours.

It's a great button to press when you're working with scenery in order to make your images look a little more dramatic, but when you're editing selfies and group images it often makes everything a little too dark and features become unrecognisable and blurry.

Well it looks like Instagram already knew our little bugbear, as in its most recent updated it's made Lux into a sliding, adjustable feature. Now when you press the sunshine button you're greeted with a super simple slider (see the example on the left) so you can decide exactly how much your images are strengthened.

Slide it to near the top with scenery and moody shots of clouds, keep it round the middle for objects and food snaps and only add a little bit for selfies and group shots of faces.

photofy-app-shot.jpgGone are the days of adding just one simple filter to our Instagram snaps before we upload them for the rest of the world to view and like (or judge and troll depending on who follows you).

Now there are a range of different apps to visit before we make our final tweaks with Instagram. MoreBeaute is a personal favourite of mine for evening out skin tone and making you look a helluva lot more attractive than you actually are, Piction is my go-to for text additions and Aviary is my favourite for basic adjustments and even more filter options.

Well now new app Photofy is competing to be a staple in your app collection, because it manages to combine a lot of different features into one slick and colourful package.

The iOS app allows you to take a new photo or use an old one in your library to get started. You're then taken to a page to resize and rotate your image before you begin.

Once you're done spinning and cropping you're greeted with an eyegasm of random text additions, frames, stickers and graphics - I downloaded the app around Valentine's Day, so there were a tonne of sickly sweet messages to begin with, but you can choose from a range of options, like "Arts & Crafts" to "Fitness" that add all kinds of different overlays to your images.

If you finally manage to decide on just one, you can then resize the image, choose a filter or even change the pre-selected text too, giving you a lot of freedom over exactly how your image looks.

The app doesn't just lend itself to making your photos better before sharing on Instagram, but some of the beautiful typography and motivational mantras really lend Photofy to be a favourite amongst Pinterest lovers too.

iOS users can get their hands on Photofy for free now from the iTunes store.

instagram-screenshot.jpgInstagram has always been super secretive about revealing its stats, mainly because up until now we've always been able to guess roughly how many people are taking lame, amateur photos and putting retro filters on them. Answer: Everyone but our grans.

Well that all changed when Instagram randomly made a bunch of - kinda worrying - changes to its terms and conditions, which left many wondering whether their snaps could be sold to third parties without prior consent. As we were all expecting, a tirade of Instagram-related tweets and long-winded, ranting blog posts ensued with a few high profile users and celebrities dramatically quitting the service.

Despite it being such a hot topic online for a few days, it didn't seem as if the terms and conditions change - and subsequent change back again - would really have that much of an affect on numbers. However, a few publications published stats from service App Data this week, which pointed to a 25% decrease in users after the fiasco.

Well Instagram has decided to fight back against these recent stats, by publishing some interesting, official figures for the first time in its history. Today on the Instagram Press page the company has added a small side panel containing data about its users and their engagement with the app:

90 million Monthly Active Users
40 million Photos Per Day
8500 Likes Per Second
1000 Comments Per Second

The stats prove the app isn't dying a slow death, which is what some melodramatic naysayers have been suggesting, but is in fact going from strength to strength.

Digital Trends has pointed out that the stats from App Data, which called all of the fuss earlier in the week, could well be skewed given they only count users who have synced the app up to their Facebook accounts - not a requirement to use Instagram itself.

At the same time we shouldn't buy into Instagram's hype - it is owned by Facebook now after all - and deny that the debacle had an affect on its users. But at the same time we need to remember that sometimes we fall into the trap of assuming just because a few vocal Twitter users are chastising a service, that doesn't mean to say anyone else cares or is even aware of the whole controversy in the first place.

[Via Digital Trends]

Even after Instagram changed its terms of service - then changed everything back again - last year and everyone became really annoying and melodramatic and said they'd be leaving the app for good, it's still super popular and going from strength to strength, whether you're a posing nobody, a brand, an organisation or a celebrity.

The great thing about celebrities being on Instagram is that we feel like we're REALLY getting a sneak peek into their fancy, showbiz, car crash lives, which is much more appealing than reading unsubstantiated gossip. Well, sometimes.

There are a LOT of cool celebrities using Instagram right now, but here's our pick of the top 10 "teen idols". We're not entirely sure what that means, but they're young, young people are obsessed with them and as irritating as many of us find them, their Instagram snaps are sometimes pretty fascinating for all the wrong reasons. Oh and feel free to add your favourites in the comments:

Related: 10 Best celebrities to follow on Instagram

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