Instagram has confirmed it's working on a new feature called "Exclusive Stories." Since June 21st, images of the Stories offshoot have circulated online after software developer Alessandro Paluzzi shared on Twitter that they had found references to the feature in Instagram's codebase. On Wednesday, the company told TechCrunch the screenshots showcase an internal prototype it's working on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, Instagram didn't reveal any other details about the project, noting it had nothing more to share when Engadget reached out.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) June 21, 2021
But what we can gather from the screenshots is that the feature is Instagram's take on Twitter's paid Super Follow subscription. When regular users stumble upon an Exclusive Story, Instagram will tell them "only members" can view the content. It also appears the company will prevent people from trying to screenshot what they see. At the same time, it will push creators to save their Exclusive Stories to a Highlight so that new members have something to view as they subscribe.
As with any insight that comes courtesy of someone finding early references to a new feature, there's the possibility Instagram may never release the feature Paluzzi found. But the images clearly show the company is thinking about how it can entice creators to stay on the platform. If that means adapting a feature from one of its rivals, so be it. Facebook and Instagram have done that plenty of times in the past.