Instagram Announces Major Change to Stories Function

Say goodbye to the swipe-up! Instagram is planning to retire its swipe-up method of linking to external websites by swiping up on a Story, reports The Verge, beginning Aug. 30. In place of the swipe-up button, Instagram says users will be able to use link stickers, which will be tappable stickers available to Story users that link out to whatever website you need.

Instagram told the outlet the change comes to "streamline the stories creation experience" and offer more "creative control" to give users control of what their linking experience looks like. The social media company has been testing those stickers for various users throughout the summer, not just for verified users or users with at least 10,000 followers who already had access to swipe-ups.

Vishal Shah, Instagram's former head of product, told The Verge the stickers are more in line with how people use the platform now and are planned to be rolled out widely. The change will also allow Story viewers to respond to link sticker Stories in a way they can't for swipe-up slides. Instagram added that for now, only people who had swipe-up privileges will receive the sticker option during the official roll-out, but that it's "still evaluating" providing it to more users. This update will "help us determine whether it's the right decision before expanding access to more people," a spokesperson told the outlet.

The change comes just weeks after Instagram announced it would be introducing new safety settings for younger users, making new accounts for kids under 16 private by default, blocking some adults from interacting with teens on its platform, and restricting how advertisers can target teenagers.

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"There's no magic switch that makes people suddenly aware about how to use the internet," Karina Newton, Instagram's head of public policy, told NPR in July. She added the new features announced were designed to create "age-appropriate experiences" for younger users who need more help navigating the platform safely. "We want to keep young people safe, we want to give them good experiences, and we want to help teach them, as they use our platforms, to develop healthy and quality habits when they're using the Internet and apps and social media," she said.