Instagram is considering charging fees for adding links to photos, the patent application says. This is reported by The Verge, citing a weekly technical patent review on Protocol’s website.
A patent application that Instagram’s parent company Facebook first submitted back in 2016 shows a pop-up that appears when a user adds a URL to a signature. The user is asked if he wants to pay $2 for the link to become active.
A patent application (entitled “Adding Paid Links to Media Titles on a Social Networking System”) describes how the system would work.
If the online system detects that the header text content includes a link text string that identifies the address, the online system prompts the posting user to pay a commission in exchange for creating the link.
Excerpt from Facebook patent
The problem of inactive links under posts has long been one of the biggest complaints from users on Instagram. If you want to add a link to an article, product, or something else in your post, you cannot attach URLs in photo signatures. Most people include an active “link in their bio”, and some Instagram users can add links to their Stories. The question will be whether Instagram influencers, brands, and other users are willing to pay for each link. But if the innovation takes effect, it looks like Instagram could see a surge in revenue.
However, as with any patent, it is important to note that companies are constantly filing patents for products and services that will never be implemented, so it is not known for certain when this feature will actually appear.