Facebook and Instagram, the two social media giants owned by Meta, have announced that they will be withdrawing digital components or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) starting April 11, 2023.
In a statement, Instagram revealed that it will begin deleting digital group data in its system, including wallet addresses, and will no longer be associated or associated with third-party digital wallets.
This announcement sent shock waves through the digital art world and left artists and investors scrambling to find alternatives to display and trade their NFT technologies.
NFT integration between Facebook and Instagram wrapped up
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has been “winding up” its work with NFTs on Facebook and Instagram, according to Stephan Kasriel, director of Meta commerce and fintech.
In a recent thread on Twitter, Kasriel revealed that Meta will end its tests for minting and selling NFTs on Instagram, as well as the ability to share NFTs on Instagram and Facebook in the coming weeks.
Instead, the company will focus on areas that can have an impact at scale, such as messaging, monetization on Reels, and improving Meta Pay.
Instagram first started testing its NFT features with select creators in May 2022. However, most users only got their first real taste of the platform’s NFT integrations in August of the same year when the company enabled the features for users in 100 countries around the world.
However, the core NFT functionality has yet to be added, which is the ability for users to mint, buy, and sell NFTs with each other.
Instagram didn’t allow a few creators to start selling NFT on the platform until November 2022. The selected artists were optimistic, believing that the move would lead to a new and fairer creator economy.
However, the announcement that Facebook and Instagram would discontinue NFTs left many creators stunned, especially since the features were only recently rolled out.
As part of the pacification process, Facebook and Instagram will no longer maintain connection or link user accounts to third-party digital wallets.
Users will no longer be able to create new collectible digital posts on Instagram, and any shared collectibles will remain as posts without any flash effect or blockchain information. Collectible posts that can only be viewed in the digital collectible tab of user profiles will be moved to their archives.
Users will also not be able to view their digital holdings in the associated tab or manage their digital wallet connection settings.
Furthermore, users will no longer be able to access or download information about the collectibles. Facebook and Instagram will begin deleting collectible digital data in their systems, including users’ wallet addresses.
Possible reasons behind the decision
The decision to stop supporting NFTs comes as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg aims to make 2023 the “year of efficiency” and streamline the company’s focus.
Meta has also faced setbacks with a Meta Diem-backed digital currency and its Novi digital wallet, both of which shut down in 2022. Despite Meta’s withdrawal from NFTs, other companies such as Reddit, Starbucks, and Sesame Street have announced new collaborations with NFTs.
Meta representatives have not shared any other information about the reasoning behind the decision beyond what Kasriel has provided in his tweets.
The company has also not released any information about the exact time the features will be disabled. Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram are looking to prioritize other areas that support creators, people, and businesses.