Instagram now lets you send private Story likes

It's a feature designed to clean up your DM inbox.

Thomas White / Reuters

Meta’s Instagram is introducing a new way for people to interact with Stories. Starting today, you can send a private like when someone shares an image or video that catches your eye. Previously, the only way to respond to a Story was to either send the creator a direct message or an emoji reaction. In either case, your response would show in their messages inbox, thereby cluttering the interface.

Once you have access to the feature, you'll find a new heart icon located between the "Send Message" pill and airplane icon. Should you decide to send someone a Story like, it will show up in the viewer sheet, which you can access by viewing your own Story again. People who publicly view your Stories won't see a like count.

“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 Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram. “Messaging is a key priority for us, and a big piece of that is focusing on DMs between you and the people that you care about.”

Instagram frequently adds small but handy features like this. Last fall, for instance, the company added the option to delete images and videos from a carousel. Story likes won’t fundamentally change how you use Instagram, but it’s a welcome addition all the same.