Instagram Sidelines Story Reactions in Favor of New Private "Likes" Feature

Instagram debuts new private Instagram Story "like" option to like your friends' IG Stories without sending them a DM.
Courtesy of Instagram
Courtesy of Instagram

2022 is clearly going to be a big year for Instagram, as the social media platform rolls with the ever-changing waves of technology to keep itself relevant and user friendly. Following a slew of updates to the app, including new mental-health safety features, IG-feed customization features, and more, Instagram's newest feature is Instagram Story "likes" — a more straightforward tweak to the already existing reactions you can send as a reply to someone's IG Story. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced the new Story likes feature — which is as simple as tapping a heart to "like" someone's Instagram Story — in a video on Feb. 14.

"The idea here is to make sure that people can express more support for each other, but also to clean up DMs a little bit," said Mosseri in the video, noting that liking someone's Instagram Story would not result in a new direct message to the user. "I said at the beginning of the year that messaging was a key priority for us, and a big piece of that is focusing DMs on the conversations between you and the people that you care about."

While some of Instagram's latest innovations and features have received mixed reviews, the Story likes feature appears to be a hit so far — at least among those commenting on Mosseri's video. Story likes do seem like a helpful way to show your friends and loved ones a little extra love without bombarding them with a million reaction DMs (most of I leave untouched, since I feel bad about opening but not responding). The new Instagram Story feature is also much more direct than reactions.

How Do You Like Someone's Instagram Story?

Once the Story likes feature rolls out for your account, you'll notice a small heart icon next to the paper-airplane icon along the bottom menu bar you see when viewing someone's Instagram story. To like the Instagram Story, simply tap the heart, which should turn red.

Is Liking Someone's Instagram Story Different From Sending a Reaction?

In the past, if you wanted to like someone's Instagram Story, you'd do so by holding down the screen and choosing a "reaction" — such as a flame, a cry-laughing emoji, or a heart — which the user would be notified about via a new DM. While this function does allow users to show support for others, an influx of reactions can clog up a person's DMs, driving up notifications and burying other messages in the process.

Can Someone See If I Like Their Instagram Story?

Yes, Instagram users can see if you like their Instagram Story. However, because Story likes are private, only the user who posted the IG Story can view the likes they've received on it. This differs from likes on public Instagram Feed, IGTV, or Reels posts, which can be viewed by anyone.

How Can I See Who Liked My Instagram Story?

You can see the viewers who liked your Instagram Story by navigating to your Instagram Story viewer panel, or the page that typically shows you a list of who viewed your Story. A small heart icon will appear next to the viewers who liked your Instagram Story.

Why Don't I Have the Instagram Story Likes Feature?

As of Feb. 14, Instagram's Story likes feature had only just begun to roll out. The process is often a gradual one, so if you don't see the Instagram Story likes feature, it may just be that this feature hasn't yet rolled out on your account or in your area. However, if you still aren't able to access Instagram's Story likes feature in a few weeks, make sure your app is updated to its latest version by navigating to your phone's app store — this is typically the quickest fix. If that doesn't work, you'll want to try quitting and restarting the Instagram app or logging out of the app and logging back in. If all else fails, you can contact Instagram's help center for further support.