Instagram is building its own version of Twitter’s Super Follow with a feature that would allow online creators to publish “exclusive” content to their Instagram Stories that’s only available to their fans — access that would likely come with a subscription payment of some kind. Instagram confirmed the screenshots of the feature recently circulated across social media are from an internal prototype that’s now in development but not yet being publicly tested. The company declined to share any specific details about its plans, saying it is not at a place to talk about this project just yet.
The screenshots, however, convey a lot about Instagram’s thinking as they show a way that creators could publish what are being called “Exclusive Stories” to their account, which are designated with a different color (currently purple). When other Instagram users come across Exclusive Stories, they’ll be shown a message that says that “only members” can view this content. The Stories cannot be screenshots either, it appears, and they can be shared as Highlights. A new prompt encourages creators to “save this to a Highlight for your Fans,” explaining that, by doing so, “fans always have something to see when they join.”
The Exclusive Stories feature was uncovered by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who often finds unreleased features in the code of mobile apps. Over the past week, he’s published a series of screenshots to an ongoing Twitter thread about his findings.
Exclusive Stories are only one part of Instagram’s broader plans for expanded creator monetization tools. The company has been slowly revealing more details about its efforts in this space, with Instagram Head Adam Mosseri first telling The Information in May that the company was “exploring” subscriptions along with other new features, like NFTs. Paluzzi recently found references to the NFT feature, Collectibles, which shows how digital collectibles could appear on a creator’s Instagram profile in a new tab.