Influencers, brace yourselves: Instagram may be thinking about charging a charge to add links to photo captions, a patent application suggests Mike Murphy discovered it as part of his (remarkable!) weekly roundup of tech patents over at Protocol
The patent application, which Instagram moms and dad business Facebook initially sent back in 2016, shows a pop-up appearing when the user includes a URL to a caption, asking if the user wishes to pay $2 to make the link live.
The patent application (titled “including paid links to media captions in a social networking system”) explains how the system would work: “If the online system detects the text material of the caption includes a string of link text identifying an address, the online system triggers the posting user to pay a charge in exchange for generating a link.”
This, of course, has long been among the biggest complaints about Instagram: that if you want to consist of a link to a story, product, or anything else in your post you can’t include URLs to captions of photos. Many people go the “link in bio” path, and validated Insta users can add links to Stories. The question here will be whether Instagram influencers, brand names, and other users will be willing to pay a per-link fee. However it appears like a no-brainer to generate profits for Instagram if this enters into result.
Nevertheless, similar to any patent, it’s important to note that business request patents all the time for product or services that never concern fulfillment, so there’s no informing if or when this function might really occur. Possibly don’t splurge on that new selfie stick right now.