What's new with Instagram and WhatsApp?

Published on 01 Jul 2021

Instagram may soon allow all users to share links in stories. The company also announced that it is embracing video content. Instagram will update several features over the coming months to make the platform more friendly for video content. WhatsApp is testing 'view once' messages with select Android beta testers.

Link sharing in Instagram stories

Sharing links in Instagram stories has always been quite restrictive. Until now, Instagram's policy is that you can only share links in stories if you have a minimum of 10,000 followers. Many small influencers that have active engagement do not meet this threshold. Hence they are unable to add 'swipe up' links to their stories. A solution may be on the way. Instagram is reportedly working on a sticker that will allow users to add links irrespective of their follower count. Instead of swiping up, users will need to tap on the sticker to access the link. Users will also be able to react to the stickers. An option that is not available with swipe-up links. This feature will open up new opportunities for micro-influencers to share links directly in their stories.

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Instagram's pivot to video

Tik Tok has seen a massive increase in users in the United States since 2018. The app currently has over 100 million active users. YouTube also saw a surge in subscriber counts and watched time during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has become clear that there is a massive appetite among users for video content. In a video statement, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said, "We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app." In the statement, he said that Instagram would be embracing video content. “We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”

WhatsApp is testing 'View Once' messages

Both WhatsApp and Instagram are owned by Facebook. Facebook alread introduced a dissapearing media and text feature to Instagram messages and Facebook messenger. A similar feature is now being tested with selected Android messages. The feature has been dubbed 'view once' messages. As the name suggests, media or text shared with this feature will disappear after the receiver has viewed them once. This is not the same as WhatsApp's dissappearing messages fearture. Dissapearing messages 'dissappear' after seven day. View Once messages will last only for one view. Senders will be informed once the message has been viewed even if the receiver has receipts turned off.

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