Instagram has been a past master at mimicking features that other social platforms have brought in. The most recent case was that of Reels, which attempted to be the in-house TikTok for its users, albeit with limited success till date. However, for some reason, the Facebook-owned platform has refrained from adapting a feature from its foster parent or Twitter.
Yes, we are referring to the ability of adding links to our stories on Facebook and Twitter. Steadfastly, Instagram has stayed away from incorporating this feature and till date only allows users to share links via their bios. However, a recent patent filing suggests that changes could be afoot.
If one were to go by a new patent application submitted by Facebook, it appears that users would soon be able to add links to their image captions. But, there is a catch! A pop-up appearing when the user adds a link would ask if the URL should be clickable and if the answer is yes, they would be charged $2 or roughly Rs.147.
The patent, filed with the United States Patents and Trademarks Office, says the fee for generating a link could either be a flat one or based on the number of users connected to the original person making the post. It could also be based partially on the user’s profile and may charge them a fee to generate a link but not charge an individual non-business account for the same.
This is what the patent application says: “If the online system detects the text content of the caption includes a string of link text identifying an address, the online system prompts the posting user to pay a fee in exchange for generating a link.” By the way, the patent was filed earlier this month.
Instagram allows users with more than 10,000 followers or those having verified profiles to add clickable links to their stories, while regular users add links via their bios and drop the words “Link in bio” when any of their stories or captions carry a call to action to check a link.
The application goes on to state that the fee is to prevent users from posting content with links in the caption as a post that is an advertisement but without the costs. It says the links would get auto-disabled if the user does not pay up. Looks like brands looking to celebrities or influencers to endorse their products could cough up more.
More recently, Instagram Reels, which was launched in India a couple of months ago, to coincide with the federal government’s decision to ban 59 apps including TikTok, got added in the form of a tab on the app. India was the first country to get this tab, which replaced the existing Explore tab.