Cover Instagram (Photo: Kate Torline / Unsplash)

The popular social media app is ditching the swipe up function and introducing stickers that will act as links to external webpages

Instagram has announced it is retiring ‘swipe up’ links from Instagram Stories on August 30.

The feature, which allows users to visit external websites and pages by swiping up, will be replaced by a new sticker function which users can tap to leave the platform. 

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The swipe-up feature contributed to the app’s popularity and social impact over the years by increasing the accessibility of information for users. It also made way for a variety of GIFs and the expression ‘swipe up’ became an essential part of the social media lexicon.

The company began testing the sticker function for various users earlier this year, including those who did not previously have access to the swipe-up feature. Users were only able to add swipe-up links to their stories if their account was verified or had at least 10,000 followers.

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Vishal Shah—the former head of product at Instagram—says that the stickers better align with how people already use the app.

After August 30, only users who had swipe-up privileges will be able to use the stickers, but the company’s goal is to roll them out to a wider audience over time. Instagram hopes that with this update, it can better evaluate and determine who gets access to the new function.

The social media platform is touting the game-changing feature as a way of “streamlining the Stories creation experience” and providing more “creative control” to its users. It says users will have greater artistic freedom to arrange and format their link stickers on their stories compared to the limited functionality of the swipe-up feature.

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