Instagram is testing ‘exclusive’ stories that only fans or ‘members’ would be able to see

The stories cannot be shared via screenshots, but can be saved so fans ‘always have something to see when they join’

Adam Smith
Thursday 01 July 2021 17:01

Instagram is working on a tool that would allow content creators to share “exclusive” content to their Stories which only certain people would be able to see.

Screenshots of the new feature were shared by leaker Alessandro Paluzzi on Twitter, with “only members” being able to see the exclusive content, the screenshots say.

The stories cannot be screenshotted but can be saved as a “Highlight for your Fans” so that they “always have something to see when they join”.

Instagram did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, has said that the app is “no longer a photo sharing app”. Instead, the company will move towards entertainment. Mr Mosseri pointed towards four key areas of development for the app: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging.

“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now,” he said. “TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger, and there’s lots of other upstarts as well.”

Mr Mosseri also previously told The Information that the company was exploring subscriptions and new features, such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

These have taken off in various areas including music, art and sports, created and sold in marketplaces for crypto-goods – often for large amounts of money. However, the ‘digital goods’ are not exclusive. Anyone can screenshot or download an NFT as they would any other image or video, and are more akin to a signature on a digital work than a unique good in itself.

References to the digital collectables in the Instagram app have also been found by Paluzzi last month.

Instagram is not the only social media company pivoting towards ticketed and exclusive content.

Twitter announced a Super Follow feature that will let users lock their posts behind a paywall in February 2021, as well as Ticketed Spaces which would let users charge for access to audio-only Spaces, last month.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, also launched a newsletter platform called Bulletin in order to better compete with platforms like Substack; Twitter purchased a newsletter company too, called Revue, in February.

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