Snapchat, the real-time photo-sharing service has seen a three-fold increase in just four months, according to co-founder and chief executive officer Evan Spiegel.

He said Monday that the company is now processing 150 million images per day — showing a strong demand for sending photo messages that delete themselves within 10 seconds.

By comparison, the most recent statistics from Facebook’s Instagram service show users posting 40 million photos per day.

Snapchat has been gaining popularity with young people mostly between age 13 and 25, Spiegel said in an interview with All Things Digital. He said that users are attracted by the idea that deletion should be the default and that a picture they snap in middle school won’t live on the Internet for the rest of time. It’s a concept that several services popular with younger users have in common — a way to make posts anonymous or delete them quickly to keep them from being a permanent part of an online reputation, as The Washington Post reported.

Snapchat has been the most prominent of these services, though there is still some question about how the free and ad-free service can make money now that it’s proven it can grab users.

Spiegel also addressed questions about monetization in the interview, saying that the company may explore putting ads on its service in the future.

He said in his remarks at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference that the company is “playing around with a few prototypes,” but didn’t elaborate on how ads would fit with the service’s fleeting photos.

(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

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