Instagram creators can now lock photos and Reels behind a paywall

They can offer subscribers exclusive group chats, Stories and livestreams too.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Instagram has been building out its creator subscription program this year and now it's slotting a couple of key pieces into place. Creators can now share subscriber-only feed posts. Those Reels and photos will have a purple badge with a crown symbol to make them stand out. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said this was the feature he's had the most requests about from creators in the program.

Also new is a subscriber chat option. Influencers can hop into group DMs with up to 30 subscribers, perhaps in an attempt to persuade them to spend more time chatting on Instagram instead of, say, Discord. The group chats are powered by Messenger and creators can start them from their inbox or a Story. They'll automatically end after 24 hours. Fans will have access to a subscriber home tab on a creator's profile as well. Paywalled content will be centralized there, including photos, Reels and archived Lives.

Mosseri says tens of thousands of creators in the US now have access to the subscription program, which enables them to charge fans up to $100 per month to access exclusive content. Instagram started testing creator subscriptions in January with paywalled Stories and livestreams. Subscribers also get a purple badge that appears next to their usernames on comments and in DMs.

Parent company Meta is offering creators other incentives to build an audience and share content on Facebook and Instagram. Last month, Meta said it won't charge a commission on earnings creators make through the apps until 2024. The company previously stated it wouldn't take a cut of their Facebook and Instagram incomes through the end of this year.

A subscriber-only Instagram feed photo