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There’s no denying Instagram Stories is a strong platform for protesters who want to spread a message.
Unfortunately, a lot of activists are missing an essential tool for connecting their followers to valuable resources: the swipe-up feature.
While it seems minor, it would allow accounts to link to important sites for fundraisers, organizations, and bail-out funds.
As they protest the killing of George Floyd and police brutality, protestors need all the help they can get boosting the visibility of these links. Unfortunately, as of right now, the feature is reserved for specific types of Instagram users: those who have more than 10,000 followers or are verified.
People want to set the feature free. And they’re speaking out about it on Twitter.
.@instagram release the link in stories feature to everyone, not just influencers. You already know how your users work and how difficult it is to get them to leave the platform if it involves more than one step (the point, I get it). Make helping right now more effective.
— michael brown (@boyinquestion) June 2, 2020
The ability to “swipe up” is mostly reserved as a marketing tool for brands, celebrities, and influencers who want to make some extra cash by linking to products or services.
Influencers and celebrities also use it to promote podcasts, YouTube videos, and newsletters. And, in some cases, sketchy giveaways.
The @instagram swipeup function was labeled a “call to action” and half the “action” being called for is by Chrysteighs holding scam lexus giveaways; releasing the feature to everyone would inarguably lead to more donations and more easily accessible information. @mosseri do this https://t.co/UKSJQ8HFkU
— Natalie Walker (@nwalks) June 3, 2020
But under the current circumstances, the swipe-up feature could be a powerful tool for quickly sharing links to activist organizations, reading materials, news stories, and more — regardless of someone’s follower count.
Instead, those with under 10,000 followers are forced to use alternative methods, like taking the “link in bio” route by posting a link on their profile. However, to get to the link, you have to go through the extra steps of tapping on the user’s handle.
Not only is the process less intuitive, but it also interrupts the experience. It’s more likely users will keep swiping through other Stories than stop, go to someone’s profile page, and tap on a link.
Instagram declined to comment on whether it plans to release the feature to everyone. But things don’t look promising.
Of course, it’s easy to see why Instagram is being cautious, since not all users will use the links with good intentions. Some could post links that lead to spam or malware.
But perhaps to start, Instagram can only allow links to certain organizations and fundraising sites. That way, they can rest assured followers will be swiping up to legitimate links.
In the meantime, you can sign a petition to catch Instagram’s attention.
It specifically calls on Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri (who remains quiet on the matter) to “give every user on Instagram an opportunity to amplify voices of the silenced by letting accounts of all follower numbers share swipe-up links to their Instagram stories.”
Maybe if enough people sign the petition and blow up Mosseri’s mentions, he’ll actually listen.