Instagram is testing a new feature that would expand the ability to share links on the app. Starting on Tuesday, June 29, Instagram's Link sticker Story test will be available to a small group of users — and it’s a potential game-changer for making the ability to link to outside information available to everyone. If you’re one of the users included in the test, here’s what you need to know about using the Link sticker.
Although Instagram has given select users the ability to create “swipe-up” links that take viewers to a website of their choosing since 2016, the feature has had its share of criticism. The ability to add swipe up links is only available for Instagram users who are verified or have a certain threshold of followers. In addition, adding a “swipe-up” automatically replaces the “reply” box, meaning you have to choose between linking to important content or engaging with your followers if you choose one.
Following a year where activism and informational content around social justice issues was increasingly shared on social media, Instagram’s latest Story test aims to make the ability to share links more equitable for everyone. Vishal Shah, Instagram’s Head of Product, tells Elite Daily the test will be available to a small group of iOS and Android Instagram users who previously didn’t have access to the “swipe-up” feature, and it allows you to use a “Link” sticker to direct viewers to a specific website.
If you have the feature, you can find it by opening up your Story camera, taking a photo or video, then tapping the sticker icon in the top right corner. From there, you’ll see a new blue button that reads “link” if you’re one of the test subjects. You can either copy and paste or type in the exact link you want to share, and there’s a limit of one link per Story post.
The Link sticker comes with some obvious benefits — Instagram users without the previously required threshold of followers can now link to content plus sharing links no longer impacts the “reply” button — but Instagram is being cautious with the test feature since it’s the first time the ability to share links will be available to a larger number of people. “There are risks, so we want to make sure we understand what those are and we can manage them,” Shah says.
According to Shah, there’s no content restriction for the links you can or can’t share in the Link sticker test, but the company will apply its current integrity and safety checks that it utilizes with the swipe-up method for sharing links. Additionally, any COVID-related content will have Instagram’s coronavirus boilerplate. Shah also reiterates that this is a very early test of the Link sticker feature, but it’s a first step to seeing how link sharing on Instagram Story can become more equitable.
While this is an exciting development, this very early test isn’t exactly an indicator it will become a full-time feature. If you’re in the test group, though, get ready to easily link in IG Stories all the sweet, sweet content you’ve been leaving in your bio.