Instagram has started testing private likes on Stories as part of a limited test. The Meta-owned company confirmed that the feature is not broadly available and is currently only visible to a small group of people globally. The company also explained that only the person who has posted the Story can see the total number of likes and that there aren’t any plans to make the like count public.
“We’re always working on ways to help people connect with those they care about,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email. “We’re now testing Story Likes, a way for people to react to stories that only the story author can see.”
Many users have revealed that they’ve started to see the feature and have posted screenshots of the new option on Twitter. The screenshots show that users who are part of the test will receive a notice stating that they may receive likes on their Stories.
Currently, all Instagram users have the option to reply or react to a story with eight options, including the laughing, surprised, heart eyes, teary-eyed, clap, fire, celebration and 100 emoji. These reactions are not publically visible, but the person who posted the Story is able to see the total number of reactions they’ve received for each emoji. The introduction of likes on Stories would allow a new way for users to engage with Stories. It also gives users and influencers a new means of measuring engagement on their Stories in the same way as their posts.
Instagram’s experiment with likes on Stories comes as the platform now allows users to hide like counts on their posts. The social media giant first started testing the option in 2019 and officially rolled it out to all users last May. This latest test indicates that Instagram is going to continue to focus on the idea of private likes, especially since the company doesn’t have any plans to make likes on Stories visible to the public.
The social media platform has been looking for more ways to get users to engage with Stories, as it recently introduced a new “Add Yours” sticker that creates public threads in Stories. The feature allows users to respond to other users’ Stories with their own following a prompt or a certain topic. The interactive sticker can be used to create a content chain where each user adds their own Story. It’s worth noting that the new sticker is somewhat similar to TikTok’s “duet” feature, which allows users to create content featuring an original video.