Instagram could charge businesses a fee to add links in their posts

One of the oldest limitations in Instagram is that it doesn't generate a link when you include a URL in a post. Instead, it is treated as a plain text.

That could change in the future if a newly discovered patent by Instagram is any indication. The photo and video-sharing service is at least considering allowing users to make URLs in their photo captions live. It will work by showing them a pop-up message asking if they would like to activate a link they've added in their post before publishing it. However, this feature will come with a fee of $2.

The patent, filed in 2016, reveals a mechanism in which Instagram will prompt users to pay a fee to put links in their posts when its system identifies that a string of link text is included in the caption. This is meant to prevent advertisers from promoting a product or service on the platform through photo captions without paying for the ad. For the general users, Instagram argued that freely allowing them to add links to their posts may lead to spam distribution.

Instagram also noted that the fee for paid links may be flat or may vary based on a few factors such as the user's number of followers or views for previous posts. The patent document stated that this could be applied to businesses, however, individual users may not have to pay at all. But as with any patent, this may not come to fruition.

Source: USPTO via Protocol

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