Instagram adds features to support small businesses during COVID-19

Instagram adds features to support small businesses during COVID-19
In a blog post, the Facebook-owned company announced that it's making it easier to discover fundraisers, gift cards and online food orders on Instagram, in an effort to help businesses on the platform.

New stickers, including gift card, fundraiser and food order can now be shared by businesses on their profiles. Users can then tap on the stickers and make a purchase through the business' website.

Features like gift cards and food orders for delivery and takeout are currently only accessible to users in the US and Canada as of yesterday, but are planned to be expanded globally in the coming weeks, with fundraisers, as seen on Facebook, to be available soon also.

Instagram encourages users to spread the word by sharing the new stickers in their Stories. "For many businesses right now, every sale helps," the company continues. Instagram's parent company Facebook also has support for fundraisers that can be launched by anyone, with most nonprofit fundraisers exempt from fees for donations.

In addition, Facebook recently partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch a Facebook Messenger chat-like service for its users, where they can learn more about COVID-19 by choosing a wide range of topics. When contacting WHO through Facebook Messenger here, users will be greeted and provided with a selection of coronavirus-related topics, such as the latest numbers of infected people, tips on protecting yourself during the pandemic, reliable news, and more.

Instagram is one of the world's most popular social media platforms, with around a billion active users. Initially launched in 2010 as an iPhone app to allow for the sharing of square images, it grew rapidly and was eventually purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.

While COVID-19 takes a toll on businesses, such as restaurants, last week Yelp laid off 1,000 employees, as the company behind the popular mobile app relies on restaurants purchasing their products and services. Instagram's move in an effort to support small businesses will hopefully be followed by other media giants, helping lower the numbers of layoffs around the globe caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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