Instagram is internally testing a tipping feature that would give creators a new way to make money on the social network. The test feature is called “Gifts” and would enable creators to earn money through Reels. The news was first reported by Business Insider.
When asked about the feature, a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email that “this feature is an internal prototype and not testing externally.”
The feature was first spotted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi back in July, when Instagram was developing the feature under the name “content appreciation.” According to screenshots posted by Paluzzi, the feature would allow creators to toggle an option that will enable their fans to send them “Gifts.” Creators would also be able to check if they’re eligible for the feature under a new Gifts tab in their settings. The screenshots also suggest that users would be able to send Gifts via a button displayed at the bottom of Reels.
If rolled out, Gifts won’t be Meta’s only tipping feature. In 2020, Instagram launched Badges, a feature that allows users to show support to creators during a live video. Badges can cost $0.99, $1.99 or $4.99. When you purchase a badge during a live video, a heart icon appears next to your name in the comments. With the possible addition of Gifts, Instagram would give creators a way to make money through both livestreams and Reels.
It’s worth noting that as with any other internal feature, it’s unknown when or if Instagram plans to roll out Gifts to users. It wouldn’t be surprising if Instagram does plan to roll out the tipping feature for creators, especially given that other platforms already have their own versions of a tip jar.
TikTok, which is Instagram’s biggest competitor, introduced direct tipping for creators last December. In addition, Twitter launched a Tip Jar feature in May 2021 that is designed to give users a way to quickly tip creators with a few taps. Even Tumblr has a Tip Jar feature that it launched earlier this year.