Instagram is rolling out a new feature it calls Private Story Likes, which lets you like somebody’s Insta Story without sending them a DM. Previously, any response you sent to someone about a Story — whether it was an emoji or a full-on message — showed up as a response in their DM inbox; with this new feature, you can show some appreciation for a Story without clogging up the user’s DMs.
“So now, as you go through Stories, between send message and that little paper airplane, there will be a heart icon,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a video. “And if you tap on it, it’ll send the author of that story a like, and that like will show up in the viewer sheet, not in your DM thread with them.”
❤️ Private Story Likes ❤️
Starting to roll out today, you can now send some love by liking people’s stories without sending a DM.
Likes on stories are private and do not have counts. Rather, they appear as hearts next to people’s handles in your Stories view sheet. pic.twitter.com/l56Rmzgnnw
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) February 14, 2022
Notably, Stories will not have like counts, which is a largely different approach than what Instagram has chosen for users’ main feeds. Instagram (which now falls under the umbrella of Meta) spent more than two years testing hiding like counts on the main feed before making the decision to leave them on by default, though users can opt to hide them on their posts.
For likes on Stories, you won’t see a public count, though you can see who left a like on your Stories when you look at a Story’s view sheet. “The idea here is make sure that people can express more support for each other, but also to clean up DMs a little bit,” Mosseri said.